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Cablegate: Karzai Asks Codel Tauscher to Work to Reduce

VZCZCXRO1195
PP RUEHPW
DE RUEHBUL #2471/01 2560255
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 120255Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5455
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KABUL 002471

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/FO, SCA/A, S/CRS
CENTCOM FOR CSTC-A, CG CJTF-101, POLAD, H FOR RICH

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER OREP MOPS ASEC PK
SUBJECT: KARZAI ASKS CODEL TAUSCHER TO WORK TO REDUCE
CIVILIAN CASUALTIES

1. (U)Summary: On September 6, President Karzai told Codel
Tauscher that he has confidence in the results of IRoA's
investigation of the Shindand operation. He urged the
delegation to push Washington to establish a strategy to
prevent future civilian casualties. Karzai expressed slight
optimism that security in Afghanistan could improve due to
the change of leadership in Pakistan. He acknowledged that
lack of IRoA control in Helmand Province allows drugs to flow
freely from Helmand out of Afghanistan. Finally, Karzai
criticized the role of security contractors in Afghanistan.
End Summary.

Introduction
------------

2. (U) Codel Tauscher, comprised of Chairwoman of the
Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services
Committee Representative Ellen Tauscher and Representatives
Petri, Cooper, Porter, Reichert, and Boyda, called on
President Karzai at the Palace. Ambassador Wood accompanied.

3. (U) Tauscher gave an overview of the delegation's
itinerary during the three day visit, which included a trip
to a police training facility in Jalalabad and meetings with
General McKiernan and General Cone. She emphasized how proud
the delegation is of the U.S. mission and troops in
Afghanistan. Karzai said that U.S. politicians are most
welcome in Afghanistan, and that it is always a pleasure for
him to meet with them.

Civilian Casualties
-------------------

4. (U) Tauscher expressed deep regret on behalf of the
delegation for the loss of any civilian lives in Afghanistan.
Karzai said he appreciated that sentiment and also President
Bush's recent communication to him regarding the Shindand
operation. Karzai asked the delegation to work with other
members of Congress to develop a strategy to reduce future
civilian casualties. Tauscher assured Karzai that the
delegation would take that request back to Congress, and that
Congress takes the occurrence of civilian casualties
extremely seriously.

5. (U) Reichert asked how Afghanistan and the U.S. could move
past the tragic loss of civilian lives. Karzai said that
Afghanistan has already started to move on, noting that
Afghans were not out in the street protesting the Shindand
operation. He also asked that IRoA and USG provide aid to
Shindand, which he noted was a poor district even by Afghan
standards. Finally, Karzai again urged the delegation to
push for a new military strategy to prevent civilian
casualties.

Pakistan
--------

6. (SBU) Petri asked what the challenges of leading
Afghanistan were. Karzai remarked that compared to Pakistan,
Afghanistan was a more united country with a less efficient
government. Karzai had called to congratulate newly elected
Pakistani President Zadari. Karzai said that Zadari was a
good person but questioned if Zadari could control Pakistani
insurgents.

7. (SBU) Boyda asked Karzai to predict the situation in
Afghanistan in five to ten years. Karzai said that how
Afghanistan's future develops depends largely on the security
and political situation in Pakistan. Karzai expressed
frustration with past U.S. policy toward Pakistan, stating
that Pakistan had cheated the U.S. by using aid money to
train insurgents to send to Afghanistan. Karzai claimed that
Afghanistan would be a paradise if there were no problems
coming from Pakistan.

Narcotics
---------

8. (U) Porter asked what IRoA was doing to control the flow
of narcotics out of Afghanistan. Karzai said that 18 or 19
provinces were poppy free or almost poppy free. He
acknowledged that Helmand Province is not under IRoA's
control. Porter asked what USG could do to help IRoA
establish control in Helmand. Karzai suggested sending more
troops to protect the border with Pakistan.

Security Contractors
--------------------

KABUL 00002471 002 OF 002

9. (SBU) Cooper asked whether there were problems with
specific security contractors. Karzai said that Afghans feel
uncomfortable when they see so many security personnel openly
displaying guns, and that security contractors had "gone over
the line" in the past. Karzai also expressed discontent that
there was no reliable process to complain about particular
contractors. Ambassador noted that in the past 18 months
there had been only one, legitimate, escalation of force
incident with security contractors. Ambassador also said that
while he was pleased with the record of service of his
contractors, he favors a stronger system for regulating and
controlling them to separate the good ones from the bad ones.

10. (SBU) Comment: Karzai's manner was friendly and in
reference to Shindand, he expressed willingness to work with
coalition forces in a positive manner to develop a strategy
to better protect civilians. End comment.

11. (U) The Codel did not have an opportunity to clear this
message.
WOOD

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