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Cablegate: Colombians Discuss Engagement with Qal-E-Now Prt

VZCZCXRO5249
RR RUEHPW
DE RUEHBUL #2432 2481245
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 041245Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5406
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 0106
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS KABUL 002432

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/FO, SCA/A, EUR/RPM
STATE PASS TO AID FOR ASIA/SCAA
NSC FOR WOOD
OSD FOR WILKES
CENTCOM FOR CG CSTC-A, CG CJTF-101 POLAD

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL ETRD EFIN AF TI
SUBJECT: COLOMBIANS DISCUSS ENGAGEMENT WITH QAL-E-NOW PRT

1. (SBU) A senior Colombian military delegation led by Army Chief of
Operations, Major General Matamoros, conducted a third fact-finding
mission on Aug 12 and 13 to the Spanish-led PRT at Qal-e-Now in
Badghis province. Five other senior Columbian military officials
also attended, including Brigadier General Zapata Uribe, Army Chief
of Training and Doctrine, as well as Colombian Police Brigadier
General Caro Melendez, Chief of Counter Narcotics.

2. (SBU) Presentations during the visit focused on Spanish efforts
and needs, and the link between narco-trafficking and the insurgency
in Northern Badghis. The Spanish made presentations regarding the
security situation in the province as well as their operational
efforts and logistical capacities. Badghis Governor, Mohammad
Ashraf Nasery, who has a counter-narcotics background and has
visited Colombia, emphasized the problems caused by poppy
cultivation and the link between narco-trafficking and the
insurgency. Spanish PRT Commander, Col. Rolan, underlined the
governor's comments, calling narco-trafficking the insurgency's
"motor" in the province's northern districts. He also offered his
assessment as to what military forces would be most useful in the
province: doctors to perform medical civil affairs Programs
(MEDCAPs); maneuver forces; combat engineers; tactical combat air
patrol (TACP); and special forces.

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3. (SBU) General Matamoros stated that Colombia is interested in
assisting the international mission in Afghanistan, but emphasized
this visit was a fact-finding mission and the specific nature of any
assistance must still be evaluated. He offered de-mining activities
as a possible Colombian engagement. The General also lowered
expectations, saying there may be some political resistance to
providing military assistance to Afghanistan as Colombia still faces
an active insurgency.

WOOD

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