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Cablegate: Ashraf Ghani On Events

VZCZCXRO4210
RR RUEHDBU RUEHPW RUEHSL
DE RUEHBUL #2399 2291157
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 171157Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0881
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS KABUL 002399

DEPARTMENT FOR SRAP, SCA/FO, SCA/A, EUR/RPM
STATE PASS TO AID FOR ASIA/SCAA
USFOR-A FOR POLAD

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINR AF
SUBJECT: ASHRAF GHANI ON EVENTS

1. (SBU) Presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani initially raised
issues of process in discussion with U.S. Election Team Head Tim
Carney 16 August. He contended that MOD aircraft are available on a
spotty basis and argued that his formal complaints go ignored. He
was surprised to learn that the Electoral Complaints Commission
actually decided against President Karzai's running mate on abuse of
MOD helicopter assets and fined him 75,000 Afghanis that the
offender paid on 13 August. He expressed fear that ballot boxes
will be stuffed in, for example, Helmand where false women's voter
registration cards will justify numbers of ballots stuffed in boxes
held in some houses to be placed in polling stations. Carney
pointed out that the IEC and ECC are aware of previous such fraud
from 2005 polls and plans random audits, especially in areas of
earlier fraud.

2. Some key political points:

-- He has dropped the notion of an op-ed as it would not be
understood, acknowledging Ambassador Eikenberry's arguments against
doing what he had earlier outlined.

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-- Ghani was delighted with his reception 15 August in Kandahar
where several thousand waited in the sun for his tardy arrival. He
believes that his, and rival Abdullah Abdullah's, successful rallies
in Kandahar demonstrate the paucity of President Karzai's support.
NOTE: Ghani called the morning of 16 August from Nangaghar that his
security organizer for the Kandahar trip had been assassinated 16
August. No arrests have been made. END NOTE.

-- At the same time, he is looking to a future role, "taking himself
out of political running and mediating/brainstorming as an analyst
and committed patriot."

-- He reaffirmed that he will not join any other campaign before
polling deal, arguing that it would betray his hard-working
supporters.

-- His worries about election-related violence continue to grow in
two aspects: first, is that the Taliban may target UNAMA to cause
the Secretary-General's staff to force withdrawal of the UN mission.
On violence between candidate supporters, he categorically stated
his willingness to do the necessary to dampen such violence. He is
willing to make public statements; appear with SRSG Kai Eide; or
appear with any set of other candidates to speak out against it.

3. (SBU) He was disappointed that Dr. Abdullah refused to join in a
16 August roundtable/debate on RTA and urged that the international
community try to change Abdullah's mind. Ghani told us he had
refused to join the debate with Karzai and Basherdost, but clearly
changed his mind, appearing with the two the evening of 16 August
(septel). He noted the morning of 17 August that he believed he had
done well.

EIKENBERRY

© Scoop Media

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