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Cablegate: President Karzai Moves Sub-National Administration

VZCZCXRO8322
OO RUEHDBU RUEHIK RUEHPW RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #2684/01 2250433
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 130433Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9667
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KABUL 002684

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/FO, SCA/A, S/CRS
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR AID/ANE, AID/DCHA/DG
NSC FOR AHARRIMAN
OSD FOR SHIVERS
CG CJTF-82, POLAD, JICCENT
RELEASABLE TO NATO/ISAF

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID KDEM PGOV AF
SUBJECT: PRESIDENT KARZAI MOVES SUB-NATIONAL ADMINISTRATION
FROM MOI TO NEW INDEPENDENT OFFICE

SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) President Karzai has decided to move the Ministry of
Interior's civil administration division -- responsible for
governors, district administrators, mayors, and civil
registry functions -- to a new Independent Office for
Sub-National Governance under the Office of the President.
This welcome reform removes the police-dominated MOI as an
extra layer between the Presidency and sub-national
officials, giving Karzai direct oversight over -- and
accountability for -- governors and provincial councils and
is designed to help unify policies and reform efforts at the
provincial level, increase central government outreach to the
provinces, encourage better coordination among sub-national
officials, and increase accountability. The success of the
effort depends on strong leadership of the new Office. An
announcement is pending on who will hold the post. The
Community Development Councils (CDCs) will remain with the
MRRD. END SUMMARY.

CIVIL ADMINISTRATION MOVES FROM MOI TO THE PALACE
--------------------------------------------- ----

2. (SBU) President Karzai decided at a minister-level meeting
on July 21 to move the Ministry of Interior's civil
administration division -- i.e. oversight of governors,
district administrators, and mayors, as well as civil
registry functions -- to a new Independent Office for
Sub-National Governance under the Office of the President.
The MOI will focus exclusively on police (and
counter-narcotics), with no role in sub-national civil
administration. According to UNAMA, President Karzai tasked
a group of advisors to prepare the staffing pattern for the
new Independent Office and an implementation plan for
approval at the next cabinet meeting after the Peace Jirga,
to be followed by a decree formalizing the change.

3. (SBU) MOI Deputy Minister for Civil Administration Abdul
Malik Sediqi told Pol Counselor that the new Independent
Office will have the same status as other IRoA independent
commissions, including the Civil Service Commission or Human
Rights Commission. It will be led by a minister-level
official who will report directly to the President (but, as
part of the Palace, will not require parliamentary review)
and two deputies for management and policy. Sediqi claimed
the reform had been his idea and indicated he hoped to be
named as head of the new office. (Note: Faruk Wardak, DG for
the Office of Administrative
Affairs in the Palace has shared with us that, while the
President has confidence in Sediqi as an administrator, he
will not be asked to lead the office. End Note)

4. (SBU) The scope of the change is enormous. Eighty percent
of the MOI Civil Administration Division's 10,000 employees
working across Afghanistan will shift from the MOI to the new
Independent Office. It will thus have authority over the
elected and appointed government officials at the provincial
and district level, as well as the lead on sub-national
governance policies, which could help increase coordination
with the provincial representatives of the various line
ministries. Sediqi claims adminstrative authority for the
provincial councils (which now lies with Wardak's office)
will be moved to the new Office. While the decisions are not
final, other responsibilities may include not only oversight
of sub-national officials, but also most civilian
registration functions like birth and marriage certificates,
and national ID cards. Some unspecified registry functions
are also likely to shift to the Central Statistical Office.

SUB-NATIONAL GOVERNANCE AND THE MOI: FREE AT LAST
--------------------------------------------- -----

5. (SBU) Chief of Staff Omar Daudzai told Pol Counselor in
June that MOI reform has been a subject of discussion for
three years. He acknowledged the Ministry's dual

KABUL 00002684 002 OF 003


responsibility for civil administration and police is "huge,
too much for one ministry." Sub-national governance
oversight languished in part because MOI senior officials
fixated on police reform, which draws the bulk of donor
funds. Daudzai also acknowleged tensions between Minister
Zarar and Sediqi. Two years ago, donors began avoiding the
Civil Affairs Division rather than work with the ineffective
and corrupt Afghanistan Stabilization Program (ASP) which had
been established to manage international donor assistance for
governance. This contributed to a growing rift between
Sediqi and Minister Zarar. ASP is little changed, now run by
Minister Zarar's brother-in-law.

6. (SBU) The Civil Affairs Division remained marginalized
even as sub-national governance reform became a priority.
Other parts of the Afghan Government have moved in to fill
the vaccuum, building a political base and drawing funds from
donors interested in supporting sub-national
governance as they do so. Faruk Wardak's Office of
Administrative Affairs (OAA) took administrative authority
over Provincial Councils from the MOI, as formalized in the
PC Law amended in March, but may give up that role to the new
Independent Office. The NSC is developing an outreach
program to traditional leaders funded by the Government of
Norway. There are hints of a tug of war between Chief of
Staff Daudzai, the NSC, and Farook Wardak's office over how
much involvement each will have in sub-national governance.

7. (SBU) At this point, the MOI does little more than rubber
stamp presidential appointees and leave the 34 Provincial
Governors -- over whom Sediqi and Zarar have little control
-- to fend for themselves. This leads to the isolation of
some officials while others invest time, energy, and
resources building an independent power based both in the
province and within the goverment. In a meeting with PolOffs
in June, Deputy Minister Sediqi blamed the lack of
international attention -- and money -- for his moribund
division, but he acknowledged the Division's weak performance
and the need for a shake-up. The Administration Division's
own strategic plan -- candid to a fault -- reads like a
description of how to build a ministry from scratch,
including diagnosing a need for "attitudinal adjustment of
senior leaders" among its many suggestions for reform.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT COUNCILS REMAIN WITH MRRD
--------------------------------------------- --

8. (SBU) The new Independent Office will become the central
authority over GOA entities at the provincial and district
levels, but the most significant GOA entity at the
community/village level remains the Ministry of Rural
Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD). MRRD's National
Solidarity Program has successfully established 17,000
Community Development Councils (CDCs) and is expanding to
cover 23,000 communities, as well as developing District
Development Assemblies (DDAs). CDCs are designed to
gradually increase support for the government at the
grass-roots level, where they compete with and emerge out of
traditional tribal structures. In Kabul, CDCs are viewed as
the political territory of Minister of Education Hanif Atmar,
who began the program when he led MRRD. Following the
reform, CDCs will be the only GOA
sub-national institutions that do not report directly to
the Palace.

USG POISED TO SUPPORT THE REFORM
--------------------------------

9. (SBU) Consolidating authority over sub-national governance
into a central focal point in the Palace is a first step in
centralizing reform efforts and introducing accounatability.
We have underlined -- to Daudzai, Wardak, and Sediqi
directly -- our support for the move. We have shared our
willingness to support with resources a plan that chooses
high quality local officials (governors in particular),
invests in them and rewards performance, holds them

KABUL 00002684 003 OF 003


accountable, and keeps them in place long enough to make a
difference. We are also prepared to invest in the new office
to allow it to be accoutable itself. We are beginning
discussions on how USAID's sub-national governance program,
which had planned to help the MOI develop its "common
functions," will shift its capacity development work to the
new Independent Office.
WOOD

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