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Cablegate: Corruption in Afghanistan: Karzai Versus Khalilzad

VZCZCXRO5122
OO RUEHDBU RUEHIK RUEHPOD RUEHPW RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #3912 3300757
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 260757Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1539
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 3709
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 4286
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUHEHMS/COMUSMARCENT MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY

UNCLAS KABUL 003912

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/FO DAS GASTRIGHT, SCA/A, SCA/PPD, S/CRS, S/CT,
EUR/RPM, INL/CIVPOL, INR/R/MR, NSC FOR WOOD, OSD FOR SHIVERS,
CENTCOM FOR CSTC-A, CG CJTF-82, POLAD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO PGOV PREL AF

SUBJECT: Corruption in Afghanistan: Karzai versus Khalilzad

1. The popular Tolo TV News Special, "Guzaresh-e-Shashunim, 6:30
Report" focused on recent comments by President Karzai and
Ambassador Khalilzad on corruption in Afghanistan. The program,
which aired on [DATE], led with Khalilzad's statement that
corruption in the Karzai government was detrimental to progress in
Afghanistan. It followed with Karzai's recent comments at the
conference for Community Development Councils, in which he admitted
that corruption was a problem in his administration, and called on
government officials to serve the Afghan people and not themselves.
Panelists praised Khalilzad and Karzai for raising the issue in
public fora, but encouraged Karzai to take specific action, rather
than complain about it.

2. Panelists stated that Karzai is not able to manage internal
pressures within his administration, is not accountable to the
people and is not implementing parliament's decisions. They also
commented that corruption was contributing to the government's
increasing weakness and unpopularity, and they were grateful that
Khalilzad raised the issue at the international level. They also
praised Karzai for admitting to the corruption problem, but urged
him to name the corrupt officials in his government and to take
action against them. Panelists stated that Khalilzad's comments
were an indirect criticism by the U.S. government, which should send
Karzai a message about the scope of the corruption problem. The
Tolo TV presenter also speculated about unconfirmed media reports
that Karzai would call an emergency Loya Jirga and hand over the
power to the people's representatives.

3. Panelists on the program included Dr. Muhaiuddin Mahdi, a
political analyst; Noorulhaq Uloomi, a member of parliament from
Kandahar Province and former military officer during the communist
regime; Moin Marasteyal, a member of parliament from Kunduz
Province; Nasrullah Stanikzai, a Kabul University law professor;
and Najib Mahmood, a Kabul University political science professor.

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