Cablegate: Ambassador Meets with Kayani and Pasha About
OO RUEHLH RUEHPW
DE RUEHIL #2427/01 2801331
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 071331Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5213
INFO RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 0962
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1454
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 5549
RUEHKP/AMCONSUL KARACHI PRIORITY 2334
RUEHLH/AMCONSUL LAHORE PRIORITY 7936
RUEHPW/AMCONSUL PESHAWAR PRIORITY 6967
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 ISLAMABAD 002427
EO 12958 DECL: 10/06/2019
TAGS PREL, PGOV, PTER, PK
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR MEETS WITH KAYANI AND PASHA ABOUT
Classified By: Anne W. Patterson, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
1. (S) Summary: Ambassador heard a number of complaints about the Kerry-Lugar bill from COAS General Kayani and DGISI Pasha in a two-hour meeting October 6. These focused on the history of Pressler sanctions, particularly a fear that the waiver in Kerry-Lugar would not be used and aid would be suspended. There were several clauses in the bill, such as an American assessment of civilian control over military promotions and the chain of command, that rankled COAS Kayani. DGISI Pasha said Kayani was receiving criticism on the bill from the Corps Commanders. Ambassador emphasized the bill’s long-term commitment to Pakistan and made three points: provisions of the bill could be waived; the bill only requires certifications and “assessments;” and the bill does not apply to the large amounts in the Pakistan Counter-insurgency Fund or Coalition Support Fund but only, so far, to non-appropriated Foreign Military Financing. Pasha and Kayani repeated that the Army had taken huge steps this year in its bilateral cooperation with the US and in its campaign in Swat and Bajaur and was getting little public (or private) credit from the US for these historic steps. Kayani said he was considering a statement on the bill, but he was struggling with what to say. He realized that Senator Kerry and Vice President Biden, the original sponsor of the bill, were among Pakistan,s best friends. He predicted the parliamentary debate would be tough, but in the final analysis the government controlled the agenda. Kayani said the language in the bill could undermine political support for the Army’s anti-terrorist effort.
2. (S) Kayani said the Pakmil was going into Waziristan in force in two-four weeks. (It is not entirely clear what this meant.) He said Zardari had advised against it for political reasons and wanted to wait until spring. (Ambassador will follow up with Zardari.) Kayani said he had met with PMLN Punjab Chief Minister Shabaz Sharif and PMLN opposition leader Chaudrey Nisar in a much publicized “clandestine8 meeting solely to bring them on board for the Waziristan operation, not to discuss politics.
3. (S) Kayani said we should talk to President Zardari about moving forward the back-channel with India, starting with the provisions agreed to in 2006. Kayani did not have a problem but thought Zardari was unwilling to take it on at this time.
4. (S) Kayani said the most important element for the US in Afghanistan, and for Pakistan, was a &perception of winning.8 There was no incentive for either reintegration or reconciliation without it.
5. (S) DGISI Pasha said that he wanted to convey to Washington agencies that he had been to Oman and Iran to follow up on reports which he received in Washington about a terrorist attack on India. He also had been in touch with the Israelis about information about attacks against Israeli targets in India. His intelligence counterparts in Oman and Iran did not know anything so far but were on alert. Pasha indicated he was willing to meet with his Indian counterpart at any time. End Summary.
6. (S) Ambassador called on General Kayani late evening October 6 to discuss the Kerry-Lugar bill. (Kayani had spoken to Chairman Mullen and General McChrystal earlier in the day.) DGISI Pasha joined most of the two-hour meeting. General Kayani said there were elements in the bill that would set back the bilateral relationship, and critical provisions were almost entirely directed against the Army. Both he and Pasha claimed the bill refused to recognize the enormous progress which had been made bilaterally with the US military and against terrorism within Pakistan: he was particularly irritated at the assessment required on civilian control of the military since he had no intention of taking over the government. “If I had wanted to do this, I would have done it during the long march.8
7. (S) Pasha, who is usually more emotional than Kayani, said the bill had caused a negative reaction among the Corps Commanders and younger officers. Pasha said they could not figure out why these “conditions” on assistance had been raised now when the anti-terrorist efforts had improved so
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much. The &conditions8 were much tougher now than in previous legislation, despite the different situation on the ground.
8. (S) Ambassador said there were no conditions on the assistance, only a requirement for certifications and assessments. We saw the bill as a major victory since it represented a long-term commitment to Pakistan’s development. The bill had a provision for waivers, which in her judgment would be exercised if necessary. Kayani replied that the Pressler amendment had a waiver, too, but President Bush had refused to sign it.
9. (S) But most importantly, the Ambassador said, the provisions in the bill did not affect &real8 money going to the security forces: it did not apply to the FY 09 Pakistan Counter-insurgency Fund, nor to the FY 10 Pakistan Counter-insurgency Fund. (There is a waivable condition in the Pakistan Counter-insurgency Fund FY 10 that the funds cannot be used for F16s). The provisions do not apply to Coalition Support Funds; and Kerry-Lugar would only apply to Foreign Military Financing funds not yet appropriated. Kayani said he understood that, just as he understood that the amount of funding available to the Pakistani military had increased very substantially under the new Pakistan Counter-insurgency Fund.
10. (S) Kayani said the Corps Commanders would press him to make a statement about the bill during their October 7 meeting: he had been struggling with how to handle this. He said he recognized and appreciated that Vice President Biden, the original sponsor of the bill, and Senator Kerry were great friends of Pakistan. Ambassador said any negative statements would affect Pakistan,s improving relations with our Congress. Ambassador noted that the Prime Minister had told her that the parliamentary debate on Kerry-Lugar would run for a few days, but it would not result in a vote. The government had defended the Kerry-Lugar bill very aggressively in recent days. Kayani thought the government would have a harder time in the assembly than the Prime Minister had predicted, but he agreed that the government could prevent a vote. Kayani had recommended the government bring the issue before the national assembly, it would enable the government to say it had been “informed” by the debate.
11. (S) DGISI Pasha asked Ambassador to convey to Washington that he had followed up on threat information that an attack would be launched against India between September-November. He had been in direct touch with the Israelis on possible threats against Israeli targets in India. He had also gone to Muscat and Tehran to engage those intelligence services on threats, and they were alerted and working with Pakistan. He reminded Ambassador that information about an attack on India had come his way and he had asked CIA to convey it to the Indians through CIA channels. (Further details about these cases available in other channels.) He said he would meet his Indian counterpart any time, noting that it was critically important that any threat information be shared with him. He emphasized that ISI was doing everything possible to reduce the possibility of an attack on India.
12. (S) Ambassador asked about the likelihood for restarting the back-channel with India, noting that we had received a good readout from former Foreign Minister Kasuri, who was enthusiastic about the appointment of former Foreign Secretary Riaz Khan as the back-channel negotiator. Kayani said that Ambassador should talk to Zardari about restarting the back-channel where it “left off:” he was not sure that Zardari was quite willing to wade into these political waters yet. Kayani and Pasha both said that they wanted this channel to succeed, and Kayani expressed his confidence in Riaz Khan’s integrity and intelligence.
13. (S) Kayani said the military was going to move into Waziristan in two-four weeks, although President Zardari had wanted him to delay. (We will discuss this with Zardari.) He had met with PMLN Chief Minister of the Punjab Shabaz Sharif and with PMLN opposition leader Chaudrey Nisar to obtain their support for the Waziristan operation, not for political reasons. (Note: This outreach appears to have been successful. In a recent meeting with PolCouns, Shahbaz
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stated that the Waziristan operation was critical and needed to move forward immediately. End Note.)
14. (S) Kayani went over some of the discussion he had had with General McChrystal about counter-insurgency but said that the most important issue in Afghanistan was the “perception that the US was winning.” There was no chance for reintegration or reconciliation unless this took place. PATTERSON