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Cablegate: Afghan Elections Situation Report Three - 0800 Local,

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBUL #2434/01 2320346
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 200346Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0943
INFO RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 7764
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 3791
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS KABUL 002434

DEPT FOR AFGHAN ELECTIONS TASK FORCE

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM AF

SUBJECT: Afghan Elections Situation Report Three - 0800 Local,
August 20, 2009

1. (SBU) The next sitrep is scheduled for 1200 local on August 20.


---------
Security
---------

2. Post heard from General Amiri of the Afghan National Police, who
clarified earlier reports of an alleged ban on all weapons in Kabul.
The General said the order only applied to carrying weapons at the
polling sites, and did not apply to protective details for
international observers. Post has received no reports of any
observers being barred from entry to polling sites for having armed
escorts, or for any other reason. The European Union observer
mission's 86-member team has reported no abnormalities at any of the
sites it is currently observing.

Provincial reports by region follow:

Regional Command (RC) - North: No update from sitrep three.

RC South: No update from sitrep three.

RC-East:
Ghazni - There are multiple reports of violence in the province on
the morning of August 20. OCC-P also reported five rockets were
launched in Khogyani district around 0530 hours local time, three of
which landed near the District Center. There is no further
information on this incident available at this time. At 0650 hours
local time, OCC-P reported a single rocket strike destroyed a shop
in Ghazni City with no injuries or deaths. The ANP is already on
scene. At 0705 hours local time, OCC-P reported a single rocket hit
behind FOB Vulcan with no injuries or deaths. OCC-P reported an
attack on Rashidan District Center at 0730 hours local time. OCC-P
has requested air support from Task Force White Eagle. At 0740
OCC-P reported that a joint ANA-ANP convoy carrying election
materials was attacked by AAF in Warra village in Gelan district.
We await further information.

Insurgents attacked a polling site with small arms fire in
Nangarhar/Khogyani. No casualties or damage reported.

Insurgents attacked a polling site with small arms fire in
Khowst/Mando Zayi. No damage or casualties reported.

Insurgents attacked a polling site with small arms fire in
Khowst/Tani. No casualties or damage reported.

Insurgents attacked a polling site with small arms fire in
Paktia/Jaji. No further information was immediately available.

Insurgents attacked a polling site with small arms fire and rocket
propelled grenades in Nangarhar/Bati. No further information was
immediately available.

Insurgents attacked a polling station with small arms fire in
Laghman/Alishing. No further information was immediately
available.

Insurgents attacked a polling site with small arms fire in
Lowgar/Baraki Barak. No casualties or damage reported.

Insurgents attacked a polling station with small arms fire in
Kunar/Ghaziabad. No further information was immediately available.

Insurgents attacked a school/polling center with an IED in
Kabul/Kabul. No casualties or damage reported.

RC-West: No update from sitrep three.


----------------------------
Voting & Counting Activities
----------------------------

3. (U) According to Embassy observer teams and news reports, polling
sites have opened as scheduled across the country, with no current
reports of any sites not opening as planned.

4. (U) Ghazni IEC has delivered the supplemental election materials
for Jaghato district for air delivery, including 50 ballot boxes, 25
polling kits, 25 screens. The materials were unloaded and stored for
possible air delivery if helo support can be obtained.

5. (U) Post has received reports that holepunches at polling

stations 182 and 183 (located in Kabul) have malfunctioned. Due to
the malfunctions, four of six polling stations at site 183 have
stopped functioning pending repair of the punches. Observers report
growing lines as the IEC officers await a solution.

-------------
Voter Turnout
-------------

6. (SBU) Polling has begun, with President Karzai and Independent
Election Commission Chairman Ludin having been televised casting
their votes on local and international television.

-----
Fraud
-----

7. (SBU) No updates from sitrep two.


------------
Atmospherics
------------

8. (SBU) Paktika OCC-P reports robust voter turnout in Sharana,
leading ANP to request additional ANSF support to handle the large
crowds. PEO Taj Ali reports all polling sites in Paktika opened as
scheduled this morning and that there is "good turnout" throughout
the province. He confirmed OCC-P's report of large voter turnout in
Sharana, and said that there has been no attack or threat
perpetuated against the province's polling sites overnight or this
morning.

Pam Constable of the Washington Post called to report a 1 AM US SF/
Afghan raid on the Park Palace hotel, where several male
journalists' rooms were searched and a Japanese journalist was
reportedly taken away. The Public Affairs Section will follow up
with the Japanese embassy.


--------------
Public Affairs
--------------

9. AFGHAN MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS:

VOA reported on comments by the State Department spokesman in which
he said that the Taliban campaign to disrupt Afghan elections will
fail.

RTA and Ariana TV reported on an announcement by the MOI that
carrying of weapons in Kabul would be banned on Election Day.
According to the report, anyone caught carrying a weapon will be
arrested, their weapons confiscated and their license revoked; only
security personnel and institutions would be excepted.
VOA reported that a poll by The Washington Post shows that most
Americans think that war in Afghanistan is not worth fighting.

Tolo TV reported that UNAMA expressed concern over mounting problems
with the 20 August elections in Afghanistan. The UN special envoy to
Afghanistan also reportedly expressed concern over lack of security
and fears of limited participation in the elections by women.

Many media outlets reported that U.S. Senator John McCain, on a
visit to Afghanistan, said the United States and the international
community will be successful in the war on terror in Afghanistan,
and the Taliban will lose. He reportedly said the U.S. does not
support any particular presidential candidate in the 20 August
elections, and called for an upsurge in Afghan security forces.

Radio Arman reported that U.S. President Barack Obama recently
stressed the importance of security for the Afghan elections, saying
that U.S. forces will try to ensure security at the polling stations
so that people can vote. The U.S. says the elections should be
legitimate and they will cooperate with the new Afghan president.

Numerous Afghan media outlets reported that militants attacked a
vehicle carrying election officials and electoral materials to a
polling station in the eastern province of Nuristan on Wednesday,
injuring three workers and setting afire the materials. The Deputy
Police Chief of Nuristan, Colonel Mohammad Farooq Badr, said the
militants intercepted the vehicle in the Mandol district. Governor
Jamaluddin Badr said the workers did not inform police prior to
transferring the materials. He added the wounded officials have been
shifted to a facility of the Provincial Reconstruction Team. IEC

provincial chief Omar Sami confirmed the incident, and warned that
if the security personnel do not shift electoral materials
immediately to the district, people will be deprived of their right
to vote. No one has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.
Another report says that an overnight rocket attack by insurgents
killed a worker of Afghanistan Independent Election Commission
(AIEC) and wounded another in Jawzjan province. Regional IEC head,
Amanullah Habibi has confirmed the incident.

Pajhwok Afghan News Agency reported that 10 people were arrested on
Wednesday on charges of distributing night letters in Paktia
province. Police Chief Brigadier General Aziz Ahmad Wardak said four
people were arrested in Ahmadabad district and six others were
arrested in Gardez, where they were spreading the night letters,
which said "the election is an American project and people should
not participate in it, otherwise they will be targeted by the
Taliban." Wardak said some explosives were also seized from the
detainees. Meanwhile, Taliban attacked a border police check-post
from across the border in Patan district. A police official, Mirza
Gull Abakhel, said that two policemen were seriously injured in the
90-minute clash, and one later died in a hospital in Samkani
district.

Tolo TV showed a new video clip in which Gulbudin Hikmatyar, the
leader of Hizb-e Islami, sets conditions for bringing an end to the
war in Afghanistan: the unconditional withdrawal of international
troops; establishment of a provisional government; holding of free
and transparent elections.

Radio Salam Watandar reported that an IED hit a vehicle in Maqor
district of Badghis province, killing 13 civilians and wounding six
others, including women and children. Provincial spokesperson Abdul
Ghani Saber confirmed the incident; no one has claimed
responsibility.

Afghan media outlets reported five family members were killed when a
roadside bomb struck their vehicle in the Sra Kala area of Sharana,
the capital of Paktika province. According to the reports the family
was taking a pregnant woman to the Civil Hospital of Sharana to give
birth.

An editorial published by Pajhwok News Agency summarized security
and human rights concerns, concerns, the recent candidate
withdrawals, and UN Special Representative Kai Eide's and Secretary
of State Hillary Clinton's statements on the Afghan Elections.

10. (SBU) MESSAGING:

Messaging remains consistent with Afghan Elections Situation Report
One. We will review and update as necessary for the next report.

EIKENBERRY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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