Cablegate: Election Day Community Based Security Plays Role

DE RUEHBUL #2807/01 2580500
O 150500Z SEP 09




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) Begin Summary. Community based security (CBS)
was an important element on election day, but was not as
expansive or as problematic as previewed in advance of the
elections. While many provincial leaders noted their
intention to tap into local men to provide security, these
forces did not materialize in many provinces as a result of a
mix of reasons: lack of timely funding by Kabul security
agencies, inability to recruit personnel and concerns of
provincial leadership about potential misuse of CBS. In some
provinces, particularly in the East, the CBS appears to have
provided enhanced security on election day, particularly in
provinces with more established tribal structures. In the
South, the use of CBS was limited with the exception of
Uruzgan province, where the CBS was somewhat useful. Herat
Province in the West had a much more robust CBS program than
was anticipated, but the program fizzled in the North's Ghor
Province when provincial leaders realized they would need to
be paired with local Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).
Lack of payment of CBS remains a complaint across the
provinces and although payment of 8,000 Afghanis was promised
for a month's work, in almost each case, CBS worked only on
August 20. End Summary.

RC-North ) Limited Role for Community Based Security
--------------------------------------------- -

2. (SBU) In Kunduz, the State PRT Rep reported that about 300
people were deployed as CBS for the election. They were not
allocated weapons, so the provincial ANP chief made use of
what the ANP had. The CBS was deployed together with the ANP
to provide security to the districts, but the ANP Chief told
State PRT officer that they were not deployed at polling
centers. While the salary was to be 8,000 Afghanis for a
month, many have not been paid yet. Unlike in other
provinces, the CBS was given a three week training course at
the INL Regional Training Center in Kunduz.

3. (SBU) In Ghor, despite the intention to make use of CBS on
election day as part of the Tribal Security Augmentee Program
(TSAP), all security was provided by the ANP without
assistance from CBS. The decision to use only ANP stemmed
from concerns about implementation of the IEC requirement
that a polling site would not open without ANSF being
present. Plans to use locals only to secure 100 polling
sites were quickly scrapped three days prior to the election
and the TSAP was not implemented.

4. (SBU) In Faryab, CBS was slated to provide security in
about 40 polling stations, including 20 in the Ghormach
district, but the IEC limitations on use of local forces
without ANSF presence appears to have limited the use of the
forces on election day. This particularly impacted the
Ghormach district where ANSF were unable to go on election
day; reportedly, however, two polling centers in Quaysar
district opened on election day with only CBS present. The
PRT indicated that locals reported that the CBS entered some
polling places and attempted to influence voting, but it is
not clear whether or not this had any impact.

RC-West ) Robust CBS in Herat, Nothing in Farah

5. (SBU) While initial plans in Herat were for limited use of
CBS in the insecure districts, in the end, CBS was hired in
each of Herat's 15 districts. The ANP Chief reported to
State PRT Officer that 150 were hired in Shindand and Guzara
districts, and 50 were hired in the other 13 districts.
Reportedly, though, more than 1000 CBS were hired throughout
Herat, so some of the districts had more than the allotted
CBS numbers. The ANP Chief said that in some districts CBS
was hired as much for political as security reasons, so that
residents would not complain they were treated differently.
The CBS helped provide outer ring security for polling
centers, and did not deploy to the polling centers
themselves. The CBS was supposed to be paid the standard
8,000 Afghanis (5000 for salary and 3000 for food, tranport,
and other expenses) for a month's work; however, funds have
only been received for the 350 guards in Shindand, Adraskan,
and Guzara. The other 600 plus CBS have not been paid and
the local shuras are demanding payment.

6. (SBU) In Farah, the PRT noted that the CBS initiative
never materialized because the MOI did not provide funding.

RC-South ) Uruzgan Is Exception

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7. (SBU) A Partners Coordination Board Meeting held at the
civilian regional platform at RC-South on August 29 concluded
that CBS did not play a significant role in providing
protection on election day, and to the best of everyone's
knowledge, the ANSF were present at all polling centers.
Uruzgan was the exception, where a large CBS was deployed,
and Helmand Province authorized and paid CBS in some
districts, but the CBS does not appear to have been active on
election day. Zabul and Kandahar State PRT Representatives
reported that CBS was not used on election day.

8. (SBU) In Uruzgan, the PRT estimates roughly 1,000 men from
assorted tribal and political affiliations made up the CBS.
Each group of men, varying in number, was headed by a
commander who reported to an influential tribal and militia
leader, Mohammad Nabi Khan Tokhi. The PRT understands that
these men stayed between one and two kilometers away from the
polls, providing a ring of security around the various
polling centers. PRT believes their primary role on election
day was to provide directions to those looking for polling
centers. Reportedly, the CBS was unarmed, though the PRT
were told that if an event occurred they had weapons nearby
to assist the ANSF. Team commanders were to be paid $100 for
the month, and foot soldiers were paid about $20; while not
paid as of September 5, the salary money reportedly was
transferred to a local bank for payment. While the CBS, as a
whole, were well behaved on election day, local officials
told the PRT they were not impressed by the CBS and do not
plan to incorporate them into the provincial security network
on a full-time basis.

9. (SBU) In Helmand, while the CBS was established for a
month, their role on election day was minimized after the
ANSF and ISAF discouraged its use. The CBS was coordinated
at the Provincial level by Deputy Governor Satar, but the
district governors controlled their activities. Satar
authorized 100 CBS in Gereshk, 100 in Garmsir, 100 in Nad
Ali, and 50 in Nawa. PRT reports that despite these
authorized positions, CBS played no evident security function
on election day.

RC-East ) CBS Played Important Role in Some Provinces
--------------------------------------------- -

10. (SBU) In the more tribal or conflicted provinces of
RC-East, CBS appeared to play a positive role. However, in
some provinces like Bamyan, Kunar, Parwan, Panjshir, and
Logar there were no confirmed CBS on election day, although
this does not rule out that some informal tribal security was
used. Also, in Logar, approximately 250 Anyak copper mine
police forces were used for election security in polling
centers located in the districts of Mohammad Aga and

11. (SBU) In Laghman, the provincial Chief of Police had
instructed all district authorities to hire local tribal
militia to support IEC delivery and security of polling
centers in their districts. The CoP reportedly promised one
bag of wheat to each tribal militia, but never delivered on
this promise. A breakdown of district CBS, who were under
the command of ANP, is as follows: Qarghai district recruited
230 men to secure 23 polling centers, with most unarmed;
Alingar district recruited 130 armed men who were stationed
500 meters from the polling center; Alishang district
recruited about 200 armed men; and Dawlat Shah district
recruited 720 men to secure 18 polling centers.

12. (SBU) In Nuristan, there was not a province-wide CBS
program, although Governor Jamlauddin claimed he obtained
funds for 150 men at USD100 per month from the MOI. PRT
cannot confirm whether he used this money for CBS. PRT
reports that district-level CBS worked well in western
Nuristan and Alingar (Laghman), and local leaders believe it
was the key to successful voting on election day.

13. (SBU) In Paktya, CBS played a role at some polling sites
on election day but this depended significantly on the
particular district. Deputy Governor Mangal assessed the
role of the CBS as key in securing the polling centers as he
said there were not enough ANSF in the province. Polling
centers in Ahmad Aba, Sayed Karam, Mirzaka, and Ahmad Khel
reported to the PRT that CBS provided security. Direction of
the CBS varied by district, with ANP controlling in some
cases and the ANA controlling in others. CBS received 8,000
Afghanis for their services, and the tribal elder who
recruited the CBS was paid 10,000 Afghani, with the funds
coming from the Independent Administration of Highways
Protection, according to local leaders. While the PRT cannot
confirm all CBS was paid, it notes that the PRT helped

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facilitate travel by Deputy Governor Mangal to Chamkani,
where Mangal personally made payments for CBS via regional
sub-governors during a shura.

14. (SBU) In Nangarhar, the provincial governor tapped into
the tribal structure to assist on election day. Tribes
provided perimeter security while the ANP secured the
immediate area around the polling centers on election day,
and tribes also often secured the hills around polling areas
to prevent indirect fire attacks; all were under the command
of the ANP. District subgovernors and ANP district chiefs
met with tribal leaders before the election in each district
to assign tasks, roles, and responsibilities. The tribes
were not paid a salary, but PRT reports that food and water
were provided in some cases by Provincial Council candidates
in their areas of strong support as they sought to secure the
polls for high voter turn-out.

15. (SBU) In Ghazni, there were three different groups of
local CBS hired for election day: about 100 women were hired
to do security screening of female voters, about 1300 young
men were nominated by sub-governors and local shuras; and
about 260 elders already serving as guardians of mosques or
other significant sites in villages were hired to support
security efforts. All were deployed with the ANP at or near
polling sites and were under the command of the ANP. CBS was
promised 8,000 Afghani (5,000 salary and 3,000 for meals and
expenses) but had not been paid as of September 5.
Provincial ANP Chief General Sherzai told the PRT that some
members of the CBS structures have come to him to complain
about the lack of payment.

16. (SBU) In Nangarhar, Governor Sherzai told local security
leaders they would receive 1,250,000 Afghanis from the MOI
and they selected ten districts for the CBS, with each
district governor to be given 120,000 Afghanis to be
dispersed among tribal elders. As of September 1, these
funds had not been paid to the tribal leaders. The breakdown
was as follows: Speen Ghar (100); Achin (60); Nazian (100);
Shirzad (120); Khgyani (120); Pachir (100); Dehbala (60);
Chaprehar (40); Goshta (40); and Durbaba (40). PRT reports
that the provincial government is keen to "institutionalize"
these community forces.

17. (SBU) In Paktika, CBS played an important security role
on election day, with Governor Katawazay giving the CBS high
marks. The CBS was made up of 1,800 "trusted volunteers"
throughout the province from a list of names submitted to the
Governor's office by local elders and tribal leaders. The
CBS was commanded by the ANP and present at polling centers
across the province. As of September 1, 1,200 of the 1,800
CBS had been paid the allotted 8,000 Afghanis. Governor
Katawazay said he would like to explore ways to formally
incorporate CBS into ANP structures.

18. (SBU) In Wardak, the Afghan Public Protection Program
Force (AP3) assisted with local election security under the
direction of the ANP. They worked from the districts where
they are based in Jalrez, Mayden Shah, Nergh, and northern
Sayed Abad. Early talks in Wardak of recruiting additional
local forces did not materialize.


19. (SBU) Over-all, the CBS elements on election day played a
moderately useful role and appears to have been placed under
appropriate command structures with direction by provincial
and district level ANP and governors. While there does not
appear to have been a one-size fits all approach to
recruitment and payment of CBS, the CBS generally were
appropriately paired with ANSF at polling sites, with a few
reported exceptions, as directed by the IEC policy. With
payment of CBS remaining an outstanding issue, recruitment of
CBS could be more challenging for future elections if payment
issues are not resolved. In those provinces where provincial
leadership was concerned about empowering CBS or other tribal
elements, they appear to have successfully avoided
establishing the program, or side-lining it on election day
as was done in Helmand Province. Still, some provincial
leaders are keen to explore ways of integrating CBS into
formal ANSF structures. Whether this materializes will bear
watching, and we will work with appropriate Afghan
institutions and coalition military elements to help ensure
this evolves appropriately.

© Scoop Media

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