Cablegate: Pakistanis at Kandahar Border Flag Meeting -- The
OO RUEHDBU RUEHPW RUEHSL
DE RUEHBUL #3161/01 2800621
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 070621Z OCT 09 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1978
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 KABUL 003161
C O R R E C T E D C O P Y (CHANGED CLASSIFICATION TO SECRET)
DEPARTMENT FOR SRAP, SCA/FO, SCA/A, EUR/RPM
STATE PASS USAID FOR ASIA/SCAA
USFOR-A FOR POLAD
EO 12958 DECL: 09/27/2019
TAGS PGOV, PREL, MOPS, UK, AF, PAK
SUBJECT: PAKISTANIS AT KANDAHAR BORDER FLAG MEETING -- THE
QUETTA SHURA IS A FABRICATION
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Classified By: Interagency Provincial Affairs Deputy CooQnator Hoyt Y ee for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
1. (S) Summary. The high point of the September 29 Border Flag Meeting (BFM) in Kandahar was the Pakistani delegation leader’s assertion that the Quetta Shura is an unsubstantiated fabrication. This BFM was the first at which the 5/2 Stryker Brigade joined officials from Canadian Task Force Kandahar, the Afghan Border Police, and the Pakistani military. The Canadians had a specific border cooperation agenda, the Afghans were more interested in insurgent interdiction, and the Pakistani side did not give either much importance. The next BFM on November 17 will be one among several opportunities for the U.S. to give AF-PAK border issues in the South -- especially reducing Taliban sanctuary in Pakistan -- the serious attention that they deserve. End Summary.
2. (S) The high point of the September 29 Border Flag Meeting in Kandahar was Pakistani delegation leader BG Sajjad’s assertion that the Quetta Shura is an unsubstantiated fabrication. When pressed, Sejaad expanded on his position, saying that the Americans had fallen victim to rumors and adding that Pakistani security authorities have more than 80 patrols and checkpoints in Quetta every day and every night, and if there were any Taliban leaders around they would know about them. In a similar vein, he insisted that Taliban infiltration into Afghanistan from Pakistan was negligible, and that the group should be more concerned about terrorists and narcotics moving in the other direction. Recent press reporting on U.S. concerns about the Taliban presence in Baluchistan did not figure directly in the meeting.
3. (S) This BFM was the first in several months, and the first at which U.S. representatives from the 5/2 Stryker Brigade, including the commander, joined officials from Canadian Task Force Kandahar, the Afghan Border Police, and the Pakistani military. TFK Commander BG Jonathan Vance chaired the meeting, and the dynamics between the Afghan and Pakistani sides were so poor it was apparent that the session would have degenerated into acrimony without his multiple diplomatic interventions. The Canadian presentation was intended to advance border cooperation and associated projects based on the Dubai Process, covering the new Joint Border Coordination Center in Spin Boldak, progress with truck surveillance equipment, satellite phones, and construction of a new border facilities at the Weiche crossing to begin in 2010 (maybe).
4. (S) Afghan Border Police 3rd Zone Deputy Commander Col. Sharif was more interested in insurgent interdiction, and credited Blackwater training for the detailed list of seizures that included, among other things, 20 radios, 450 meters of wire, 800 detonators, and 62 prisoners. When Col. Sharif suggested that combined AF-PAK border operations would be the best way to demonstrate true willingness to cooperate, BG Vance reminded the group that policy was to focus on communications and confidence building measures through the JBCC.
5. (S) The Pakistanis essentially rebutted each Canadian point with a complaint or counter-point: 1) the Iridium phones were useless for cross-border communications, because the system was always busy; 2) they would not send any personnel for training on the Canadian-supplied truck surveillance equipment until they received a timeline of when the equipment would be operational; 3) it did not make sense to begin construction on a new border crossing facility when the Afghans kept the current Friendship Gate locked, and all traffic had to go around the side; and 4) the would make no commitment when Pakistani officers would actually arrive to man the JBCC. For their presentation, the Pakistanis displayed a map slide with 171 border stations between the southern edge of the FATA and Iran to demonstrate the excellent control they maintain on their side, along with another listing nine ISAF aircraft border incursions in the past two months with exact duration and meters of penetration, for which they demanded an accounting.
6. (S) The participants agreed in principle that the next BFM would take place on November 17 in Chaman on the Pakistani side. The agenda is to include an update on the JBCC, a 5/2 Stryker brief on their forces array near the, a TFK operations and intelligence brief on Kandahar, and an accounting of ISAF air incursions.
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7. (S) The November 17 BFM will be one among several opportunities for the U.S. to give AF-PAK border issues in the South the serious attention that they deserve.
8. (S) There were eight Pakistanis in the delegation, three regular army and five Frontier Corps Pishin Scouts. BG Sejaad, who said he had been deputy zone commander for two months, gave the impression that he spoke with the authority of Islamabad when discussing terrorists and the Taliban. He also mentioned that he had attended NBC training in Germany prior to the first Pakistan nuclear tests. COL Shahzada, a Pashtu-speaking brigade commander from Quetta was the next most senior officer. The Canadians said three ISI officers were among the Pishin Scouts. EIKENBERRY