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Cablegate: Prt Lashkar Gah, Helmand Province: Musa Qala Stabilization

VZCZCXRO4262
RR RUEHIK RUEHPOD RUEHPW RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #4143/01 3520920
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 180920Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1941
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 4318
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KABUL 004143

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/FO DAS CAMP, SCA/A
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR AID/ANE, AID/DCHA/DG
NSC FOR JWOOD
OSD FOR SHIVERS
CENTCOM FOR CG CSTC-A, CG CJTF-82 POLAD

SENSITIVE, SIPDIS

E.O. 12958 N/A
TAGS: MCAP MOPS PREL PGOV PTER PHUM AF
SUBJECT: PRT LASHKAR GAH, HELMAND PROVINCE: MUSA QALA STABILIZATION
OPERATIONS

REFTEL:

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Task Force Helmand (TFH) is fully engaged in
stabilization operations in Musa Qala and their Military
Stabilization Team (MST) has identified health, education and road
projects for immediate reconstruction. PRT officers and GoA
officials visited Musa Qala on Dec 16, and were briefed on
reconstruction plans of the city. The MST estimated 400 people are
returning daily to the city and ANA forces said shops were reopening
as supplies could now arrive. The city has partial electricity and
the Roshan tower is repaired and Musa Qala has cell coverage. The
PRT group spent five hours in the city and reviewed the proposed
reconstruction sites. END SUMMARY.

Reconstruction a Priority
--------------------------

2. (SBU) PRT leadership traveled to Musa Qala on Dec 16 with Helmand
Ministries of Reconstruction and Rural Development (MRRD) and Health
directors, three members of the Provincial Council and Independent
Directorate for Local Governance (IDLG) Deputy, Akber Aferdi. The
group was briefed by the MST and General Muhaidan on security and
development issues. Muhaidan said that security situation was
stable and three checkpoints were already under construction. The
MST agreed that the city was calm and they had carried out a quick
survey of short and long term development projects. They said some
buildings within the city had been damaged but many were only in
disrepair and could be ready to use quickly, this includes a school
and several clinics.

Schools and Medicine
--------------------

3. (SBU). The MST said the city high school and public clinic are
in fairly good condition and could be repaired in a matter of weeks.
The high school needs cleaning, painting, and furniture but the
facility is in fair condition. The MST is trying to locate former
teachers and started a cash for work program to clean the facility
and the playground. The public medical clinic needs minor repairs
and the MST thinks it can also be working in a few weeks. Several
staff members were at the clinic location and they told poloff they
have medical supplies but more equipment and supplies are needed.
The MST is conducting an inventory to determine what supplies and
medical equipment are on hand. The MST said many people are asking
when the school and clinic would be repaired and are pleased to see
reconstruction efforts underway.

Long Term Development
---------------------

4. (SBU). The MST also reviewed several larger projects that are
important to the next phase of stabilization. The central Mosque
has been totally destroyed and will need to be completely rebuilt.
Residents told poloff the Taliban elements destroyed the Mosque some
time ago and this did not happen during the battle. The city
administration building and a private clinic require major
reconstruction and the main city road will have to be repaired. The
MST said several contractors are already in the city and work can
begin on the road repair in a short time. The larger building
projects will require plans, local approval and site clearance
before construction can begin.

Comment:
--------

5. (SBU) The residents of Musa Qala are pleased the initial
reconstruction is underway and all said they welcome substantial
support from ISAF and their government. Many residents were happy
to see Helmand officials with the PRT group and many came forward to
voice ideas for repairing the city. The TFH officers said they were
surprised how quick the city recovered in just a few days and
estimated 400 residents were returning daily. ANA officers said
supplies are arriving in the city and many local vendors are back
open. TFH's immediate reconstruction efforts have made a good
impresson on Musa Qala residents and bought valuable time to allow
sustained development to move forward.


KABUL 00004143 002 OF 002


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