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Cablegate: G-8: Canada Looking for Help On the Afghan-Pak

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL CA AF PK
SUBJECT: G-8: CANADA LOOKING FOR HELP ON THE AFGHAN-PAK
BORDER

1. (SBU) Summary: Canada's Foreign Ministry briefed G-8
embassies on its recent mission to the Afghanistan-Pakistan
border which was focused on border management, immigration,
and counter-narcotics. Under the G-8 border initiative
Canada is taking the lead on the piece of the frontier where
its troops are based -- the Spin Boldak/Chaman crossing in
Khandahar/Baluchistan, but takes a broader interest in border
management as well. Canada wants to improve the physical
infrastructure, the capacity of border officials, and the
interaction between Afghan and Pakistani officials. The GOC
will host a three-day Afghanistan-Pakistan Joint Border
Management Training Workshop in Dubai from October 30 to
November 1, which will allow 10 senior officials from both
Afghanistan and Pakistan to exchange ideas and develop
workable policies. The U.S., Germany, and Japan will be
invited as observers. The GOC also presented G-8 members
with a list of projects that need attention, which it will
coordinate with the U.S. Border Management Task Force in
Kabul. End Summary

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SECOND BORDER ASSESSMENT MISSION
--------------------------------

2. (SBU) Jim Nickel, Director of the Office of South Asian
Affairs in the Department of Foreign Affairs and
International Trade, briefed G-8 reps October 4 on the
mission by Canadian officials to the Afghanistan-Pakistan
border in early September. Nickel said this was the second
such mission, the first focused on social and economic issues
and programs, this one on border management, immigration, and
counter-narcotics. The team included senior Canadian border
officials and visited Kabul, Islamabad, and the border
crossings between Khandahar and Baluchistan. In Kabul Nickel
said the team coordinated with the U.S. Border Management
Task Force, and also with World Bank and IMF missions doing
similar work.

3. (SBU) Nickel cited a number of practical problems to
preventing and deterring illegitimate crossings of people and
goods across what has long been an open border. He said that
the Afghans do not recognize the border as it is currently
demarcated, and there is practically no communication and
interaction between Afghan and Pakistani officials on a
day-to-day basis. The Afghans are very focused on customs
collection but the Canadians did not see a clear system for
managing the revenue. They saw needs in all areas --
infrastructure, capacity building, and cross-border
communication -- and believe it will take a concerted
international effort over a lengthy period of time to make
the border function properly.

NEED A LITTLE HELP
------------------

4. (SBU) Nickel said that Canada's efforts on the border will
be managed as part of the G-8 initiative. As a result of
this mission, the GOC identified a number of areas that need
attention, and Canada is asking G-8 partners to see where
they might be in a position to help. Some of them will be
joint projects with Afghan and Pakistani officials working
Qjoint projects with Afghan and Pakistani officials working
and training together and some will be focused on the Afghan
side of the border. Canada will be putting a list out
through G-8 Sherpas in advance of the G-8 Asia Directors
meeting on October 24.

DUBAI WORKSHOP -- OCTOBER 30 TO NOVEMBER 1
------------------------------------------

5. (SBU) A key initiative by Canada is a Pak-Afghan Joint
Border Management Workshop to be held in Dubai October 30 to
November 1. Nickel said that Dubai was taking support for
the workshop quite seriously. It will involve 10 senior
officials from both Afghanistan and Pakistan, at the Director
General and Director level, with the objective to:


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-- develop professional and personal linkages
-- increase mutual understanding of each other's
institutional arrangements
-- identify and assess high priority operational areas of
border management that require strengthening
-- prioritize areas of mutual interest for ongoing joint
border management capacity building and cooperation

Nickel said that they would like to limit outside
participants in the workshop, but Germany as the current G-8
chair, Japan as the future chair, and the United States
because of the Border Management Task Force in Kabul are
invited to send an observer. Significantly, he said that the
GOC hopes this will not be a one time project, but something
that will lead to a series of workshops in Kabul and
Islamabad, and strengthened capacity among the participants
as a result.

OTHER PROPOSALS
---------------

6. (SBU) Other project proposals which the GOC suggested are:

-- Establish customs/immigration border crossing facilities
at Chaman/Spin Boldak
-- Provision of a truck/container scanner at Chaman
-- Provide Afghan Border Police and Pakistan Frontier
Corps/Customs with canine teams for explosives and drugs
-- Provide Pakistan Frontier Corps, Customs, and
Anti-Narcotics Force with ion scanners, portable CN labs,
4500cc vehicles, and solar panels for commo equipment.
-- Support for UNODC Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran
anti-trafficking border management initiative.
-- Support for Afghan communications/public diplomacy in
tribal areas.
-- Support for implementation and further roll-out of
Pakistan's biometrics system
-- Support for Afghanistan and Pakistan Jirga secretariats
-- Support for cross-border, community policing in tribal
areas
-- Support for Pakistan-Afghanistan parliamentary exchanges

7. (SBU) Interested parties may e-mail Embassy Ottawa
political officer Keith Mines (Mineskw@state.gov) for the
full list of projects and the background provided by the GOC
on the Dubai workshop.

Visit our shared North American Partnership blog (Canada & Mexico) at
http://www.intelink.gov/communities/state/nap

BREESE

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