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Cablegate: Kunduz, Afghanistan: A Regional Hub for Security And

VZCZCXRO8513
RR RUEHIK RUEHPOD RUEHPW RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #4170/01 3560532
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 220532Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2002
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLETIVE
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 4324
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KABUL 004170

SIPDIS

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

SENSITIVE, SIPDIS

E.O. 12958 N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER PHUM AF
SUBJECT: Kunduz, Afghanistan: A Regional Hub for Security and
Economic Growth

1. (SBU) Summary: In 2007, Kunduz province has made demonstrable
progress along all lines of operations (security, development and
governance) and served as a regional catalyst for Northeast
Afghanistan. There is both visible reconstruction activity and
private sector development, symbolized by the new Afghan-Tajik
Bridge. The local population remains overwhelming supportive of the
GoIRA and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), although
there has been an increase in the number of insurgent suicide,
rocket and IED attacks. Provincial government officials engage with
their constituents, and line ministries and municipalities deliver
basic services. In 2008, the USG will look to build upon last
year's significant increase in personnel, programmatic and financial
resources to continue to support reconstruction and security
activity in the province and beyond. End Summary.

Security - Population Supportive and ANSF Responsive
--------------------------------------------- -------

2. (SBU) The local population continues to support the GoIRA and
ISAF, although there has been a quantitative increase in the number
of insurgent suicide, rocket and IED attacks. In 2007, there were
seven suicide attacks in the province, including the May 2007 attack
in Kunduz city that killed three German soldiers, as compared with
the one event in 2006. The insurgent's focus on suicide attacks has
impacted the German-led Provincial Reconstruction Team's (PRT)
ability to conduct dismounted patrols and vehicle movements in
Kunduz city. Both ISAF and ANSF are resolved to confront this
threat and have focused their efforts on joint operations, planning
and intelligence sharing. The relocation of the Joint Provincial
Coordination Center in a new purpose-built building and commitment
by the line ministries should ensure that it becomes operational in
early 2008.

3. (SBU) Kunduz remains the security hub, and correspondingly the
insurgent target, for northeast Afghanistan. The RTC Kunduz is
playing an integral role in the roll-out of CSTC-A's Focused
District Development program, indeed one of the first districts
selected was in the province (Chahar Dara). The greatest threat to
ISAF and USG assets in Kunduz, particularly on the plateau, is
insurgent rocket activity. The German-led PRT has taken pro-active
steps, within their rules of engagement, to neutralize this threat
including supplementing aerial and personnel reconnaissance assets.

4. (U) Both the Afghan provincial government and ISAF recognize
that the population's support is crucial to security efforts in the
province. The governor, district administrators, and provincial and
district police chiefs engage regularly with local officials, elders
and religious figures to enlist their support. The PRT has
emphasized the contributions of the international community and
aligned development projects with security initiatives.

From Quick Impact Projects to Private
Sector Development
-------------------------------------

5. (U) The opening of the $37 million Afghan-Tajik Bridge in
October 2007 inaugurated a new regional trade route, slashed
transportation costs and spurred private sector development. New
construction abounds on the arteries of the city (new rice factory
and gas stations), within the city itself (commercial buildings,
marketplace) and once again in the new housing development
"Sar-e-Dawra". While large infrastructure projects remain
(hydroelectric in Khanabad, water systems, district connector
roads), donor attention is increasingly focusing on efforts to
assist private sector development. USG efforts to strengthen
associations (re-establishment of Kunduz' carpet association),
facilitate trade (first Afghan-Tajik trade fair) and extend credit
(small and medium enterprise loan program) are paying dividends and
could be expanded. One of the best signs of stability and a
positive business climate is that business owners are prepared to
resume investment in their businesses, whether through the mayor's
mandated, but un-funded, program to resurface sidewalks or through
microfinance and SME loans.

6. (SBU) The Afghan National Development Strategy held sub-national
consultations this summer in the province and sectoral working
groups have submitted their prioritized lists to Kabul. The

KABUL 00004170 002 OF 002


German-funded and -administered Provincial Development Fund (PDF)
has successfully supported small development projects and promoted
good governance. It is only through the PDF that the Provincial
Council has any budgetary approval role in development. NGO's
continue to operate from the province, although one German NGO
resettled from Kunduz to Takhar citing a decrease in overall
security.

Good Faith Effort to Deliver Essential Services
--------------------------------------------- --

7. (SBU) As in other provinces, Kunduz provincial officials are
keen to be seen as fulfilling their government mandates. Despite
the lack of personnel and resources, electricity flows (when
released by Tajikistan), schools and hospitals function and streets
are cleaned. The new Kunduz mayor, armed with both a vision and a
budget, has made a tangible difference - for the better - in the
lives of the townspeople. Directors of line ministries are disposed
to cooperating with the international community. In 2007 the USG
supported the rule of law in Kunduz through the establishment of a
Justice Sector Support Program (JSSP) regional office, hosting of a
Provincial Justice Conference and launch of police-prosecutor
training. Judicial corruption remains of great concern as it
distorts the population's willingness to co-operate with the ANSF.

8. (SBU) Governor Omar, in office since March 2004, has remained
the province's leading political personality. He is predisposed to
cooperating with the international community on development and
security; however, he is unlikely to reform the system. Recently,
he has shown an effort to improve governance and the coordination of
the line ministries. In his first year in office, Provincial Chief
of Police Salangi has attacked corruption in passport issuance and
helped direct international assistance to priority projects, while
at the same time repelling insurgent night attacks on checkpoints
and neutralizing suicide attackers. Relishing the fight, but
loathing the administrative work, he commands respect through his
personal authority and physical stature. The Provincial Council
continues to search for a role, currently involved in the
developmental planning process and through the PDF, project
allocation.

Increased International Presence
--------------------------------

9. (SBU) International donor activity increased significantly in
2007 in Kunduz. The U.S. Army began its police mentoring program,
JSSP lawyers arrived to train police-prosecutors and the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers shifted its attention and office from the bridge
at Sher Khan Bandar to Kunduz and police and army construction in
the surrounding provinces. The German PRT launched the Provincial
Development Fund, began mentoring the ANA and welcomed the EU's
police mission. Currently, USAID is considering placing a Field
Program Officer in Kunduz to better tap into national and local
programs, such as the Local Governance and Community Development
Program that plans to begin its activities in 2008 in the province.


10. (SBU) Comment: Kunduz has made forward progress in all lines of
operation. While insurgents have adopted tactics new to Kunduz
(rocket and suicide attacks), ANSF and ISAF are working with the
local population to improve security. Private sector activity has
been spawned by the opening of the new bridge. To further
strengthen these positive developments, the international community
should support private sector development, strengthen judicial
institutions and devote public diplomacy assets to cover this
positive story. End Comment.
WOOD

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