Cablegate: Afghans Seek Improved Judicial Security; Cstc-a Agrees To

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E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) SUMMARY. Afghan officials, including the Afghan Chief
Justice, the Attorney General, the Minister of Interior, and the
Minister of Justice agree 24-hour security for certain at-risk
judges and prosecutors is needed to establish a judiciary capable of
prosecuting the powerful criminals and corrupt officials who are
destabilizing Afghanistan. The Afghan government has agreed to work
with the United States, the UK (a strong supporter), and other
partners to recruit, train, and equip a specialized judicial
security unit (JSU) modeled on the U.S. Marshals Service. A
technical committee has met several times to discuss how to stand up
such a force. On September 28, CSTC-A agreed to help identify a
training and billeting facility, and provide JSU officers from the
build-up of ANP forces. Additional funding resources, however, will
be required to proceed. End Summary.


2. (U) The fear of assassination prevents many (if not most) Afghan
judges and prosecutors from carrying out their duties with
objectivity, particularly in cases involving powerful criminals or
well-connected corrupt officials. Their fear is well-founded: the
justice minister in Kunduz province was killed by an IED attack in
late August (the Taliban claimed credit). In the past six months,
insurgents killed eight prosecutors and kidnapped four others. The
Chief Appellate Judge of the Central Narcotics Tribunal was killed
in September 2008. Hence, Afghan and international experts agree
Afghan judges and prosecutors need increased protection in order to
establish an independent judiciary capable of prosecuting criminal
and corrupt actors.

3. (U) Since 2006, the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) has been
involved in the assessment and improvement of security for the
Counter-Narcotics Justice Task Force (CJTF) in Kabul. However,
because of lack of funding, the USMS mandate was limited to training
a small unit of the Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan (CNPA)
to provide courtroom security. Following the assassination of the
Chief Appellate Judge of the Central Narcotics Tribunal, judicial
security became an urgent priority, and the USMS modified its
mission to include training in personal security for key personnel.
In a meeting with CJTF personnel shortly after the assassination,
the Ministry of Interior (MOI) promised to create a judicial
security program. The MOI also promised to increase the number of
slots allotted to the CNPA unit, now called the Afghan Marshals
Service (AMS), and the tashkil was increased from 28 to 74.
Currently, however, only 47 men and women are in the unit.


4. (U) Civilian and military elements have had a number of
discussions in recent weeks on the need Afghan officials see to
develop a better way to provide better judicial security.

5. (U) The Deputy Ambassador, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham of South
Carolina, and the Rule of Law Coordinator met on August 23, 2009
with Afghan Chief Justice Abdul Salaam Azimi, and separately with
Afghan Attorney General Mohammed Shaq Aloko, to discuss expanding
judicial security. When that U.S. delegation met with Afghan
Interior Minister Mohammed Hanif Atmar August 25, the Afghan
officials acknowledged the importance and urgency of the issue. On
August 26, they jointly agreed to seek U.S. assistance to form a
special unit to protect Afghan judges and prosecutors.

6. (U) On August 27, 2009, a Kabul-based team (including
representatives from Rule of Law (ROL), Department of Justice (DOJ),
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), USMS, Bureau of International
Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL), CSTC-A, USFOR-A, and CENTCOM),
met with Afghan Justice Minister Sanwar Danish, MOI Deputy Minister
Mangal, Supreme Court General Chief Administrator Halimi, and Deputy
Attorney General Fatah to discuss the way forward. A technical
committee composed of Afghan, U.S., and UK officials subsequently
met to examine the details of the JSU plan. The committee agreed to
draft a concept paper addressing recruiting, training, equipping,
and funding a judicial security unit. The committee will also
explore the possibility of creating secure housing compounds for
judges and prosecutors, as was done in Baghdad.

7. (U) During the discussions, the Afghan side proposed a nationwide
force of up to 7,411 personnel at an estimated cost of $43 million
(the U.S. and international donors would need to provide this
assistance). Deputy Interior Minister Mangal offered 100 police
officers, starting in September 2009, to meet the short-term needs
of the proposed Justice Security Unit (JSU). The JSU would protect
judges at the Counter Narcotics Justice Center, the Supreme Court,
and judges handling Anti-Corruption Unit and Major Crimes Task Force
cases. In addition, the Afghan side proposed including protection

KABUL 00003185 002 OF 002

for ministry officials and juvenile detention centers.

8. (U) The U.S. delegation proposed to train the JSU to provide
courtroom and personal security for judges and prosecutors, and to
apprehend fugitives. They made clear that U.S. funding would need
to be tied to compliance with the implementation plan. To support
development of a plan, the USMS recently conducted a security
assessment of the needs of the Supreme Court.

9. (U) At a meeting on September 26, DM Mangal, and DOJ and USMS
officials discussed the need to replicate the training given to the
security force at the CNJC for the entire proposed national JSU.
Deputy Minister Mangal agreed to revise the structure of the MOI to
place the JSU, now part of the CNPA, under the direct supervision of
DM Mangal. This step would encourage use of the existing JSU as a
model for the development of the larger, nationwide JSU envisioned
by the Afghan government.

10. (U) Subsequently, Technical Operations Division Assistant
Director William Snelson and Commander Special Operations Group
David Robertson, U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), met with COL Scott
Jones, CSTC-A Deputy Assistant Commanding General for Police
Development, and COL Louis Jordan, CSTC-A Senior Military Advisor to
the Deputy Minister of the Interior for Counter-Narcotics, September
28, 2009 to how the U.S. military can support standing up an Afghan
Judicial Security Unit (JSU) modeled on the USMS. CSTC-A pledged to
help locate a training facility for the JSU program. In addition,
COL Jones said the JSU force will come from the over-all planned
build-up of the Afghan National Police. CSTC-A asked the U.S.
Marshal Service to provide subject matter expertise in developing
the force structure of the unit, which USMS agreed to do. Both
CSTC-A and USMS agreed the 7,411 person security element is


11. (SBU) Post strongly supports the proposal to build the JSU into
an effective security unit to protect judges and prosecutors.
However, we note the difficulty of obtaining adequate funding and
sufficient numbers of U.S. Marshals Service personnel to oversee
training of the unit. We are encouraged by the support pledged by
CSTC-A to locate and develop a training facility.

12. (SBU) Under the best of circumstances, providing security to
judges in the provinces is years away. Our sense is that protection
should first be provided to justices of the U.S.-funded Counter
Narcotics Justice Center, then to Afghan Supreme Court Justices,
then to at-risk judges in Kabul, and then to at-risk judges in key
provinces. The JSU will only protect prosecutors under specific
threat, as in the United States.

13. (SBU) Afghan government officials agree -- and we agree -- that
the country's judiciary and progress on rule of law would benefit
from creation of a judicial security unit. At the same time,
discussion of key points, including the size of the program and the
budget it would need, have yet to begin in a detailed way. Embassy
and potential Afghan partners are meeting to develop the thinking
further and will provide Washington with updates, and at the
appropriate time requests for action, as the work here proceeds.


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