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Cablegate: Deputy Secretary Lew Reviews Civilian Increase in Helmand

VZCZCXRO8787
RR RUEHDBU RUEHPW RUEHSL
DE RUEHBUL #3056/01 2740740
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 010740Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1777
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KABUL 003056

DEPARTMENT FOR SRAP, SCA/FO, SCA/A, EUR/RPM
STATE PASS TO AID FOR ASIA/SCAA
USFOR-A FOR POLAD

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MCAP MOPS SNAR PREL PGOV PTER PHUM AF

SUBJECT: DEPUTY SECRETARY LEW REVIEWS CIVILIAN INCREASE IN HELMAND

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: During a September 9 visit to PRT Lashkar Gah in
Helmand Province, Deputy Secretary of State Lew, USAID Administrator
Fulgham and Ambassador Eikenberry reviewed current PRT operations
and examined the impact of additional U.S. officers and their life
support requirements. Supporting U.S. officers' freedom of movement
was a key concern and they examined different options. Governor
Mangal briefed on a successful past year and highlighted the
reduction in poppy cultivation and improved security infrastructure.
The Governor welcomed continued U.S. support, adding that
additional U.S. civilians were needed to work in areas recently
cleared of enemy forces. END SUMMARY.
Support at the PRT and District Levels
--------------------------------------

2. (SBU) Deputy Secretary Lew visited PRT Lashkar Gah on September
9, receiving an update on its current operations. UK and U.S. PRT
leadership briefed on the ongoing work of their stabilization
officers, who were first based at the district level in January 2008
and now there are officers in seven district centers. Joint teams
of UK and U.S. officers are working well together in Nawa, Garmsir
and Kanashin, working with local officials improving security and
governance, and directly supported by the UK-led PRT based in
Lashkar Gah. Officers work with the UK and U.S. development
agencies to support reconstruction efforts, obtaining funding from
the PRT or the U.S. military.

Registration Materials Required
-------------------------------

3. (SBU) Secretary Lew asked how the PRT arranges transport for
officers at the PRT and district levels and the impact this has on
regular freedom of movement. PRT leadership reported that movement
of UK, Danish, Estonian and U.S. staff based at the PRT is provided
in part by a UK civilian contractor, Armor Group International, as
well as by a USAID implementing partner's personal security contract
with Global Services. This service also provided security for
stabilization officers in Garmsir, Gereshk and Nad Ali, when
visiting the PRT, and will be important to enhanced operations at
the district level. The PRT briefers emphasized the important role
the security group plays in ensuring mobility of U.S. civilians
helping build governance capacity in Helmand. Officers based at the
PRT conduct the bulk of their meeting in government facilities and
attend Afghan functions as the support permits. They emphasized
that the security support allows broad freedom of movement in the
larger district centers and, as security expands, can adjust the
area of operation as needed. (Note: The Global Services private
security contract has since ended, following the completion of the
USAID implementing partner's contract. The loss of this contract,
in addition to the dramatic increase in U.S. staff at the PRT and
District Support Teams (DSTs), has reduced mobility of U.S.
civilians in Helmand by more than three-quarters from prior to the
civilian increase.)

Mangal Highlight Success
---------------------

4. (SBU) Governor Mangal welcomed Secretary Lew, delivering a
detailed list of his administration's achievements over the past
year. Helmand poppy reduction was a historic achievement for all
those involved, he said, showing provincial residents that their
government can deliver support and help farmers adjust their crops
to legal agriculture. He thanked USAID for their excellent support
in completing the Bost Airfield, noting that the return of civilian
air service to Helmand was badly needed. Helmand residents welcomed
the completion of this project and the subsequent commercial air
services now using the Airfield. Mangal also noted that the
completion of the Provincial Police Headquarters was a great benefit
to the Afghan Security forces and helped coordinate security efforts
across the Province.

Additional Support Required
---------------------------

5. (SBU) Secretary Lew asked Mangal if additional U.S. civilians
could help support stabilization efforts across Helmand. Mangal
replied that U.S. officers at the PRT had been involved in every
stabilization effort and the State PRT officer had played a key role
in the Kanashin operation. Stabilization officers support the local
officials and help bring together district councils that help plan
the redevelopment of the badly damaged areas. He reported that
District Councils in Nad Ali, Garmsir and Gereshk, are functioning
and ready to implement larger programs if they can receive more
support from Kabul. Mangal concluded that with PRT support his
administration had improved governance from the provincial to the
district level but more help was needed from all ministries in
Kabul. He emphasized that increased assistance and technical
expertise would help him expand governance and that an increased

KABUL 00003056 002 OF 002


presence of Afghan National Security Forces would help broaden the
secure areas around Helmand and Southern Afghanistan.

COMMENT
-------

6. (SBU) Secretary Lew's visit highlighted the successful growth in
U.S. officer presence in Helmand but also demonstrated that security
and logistical concerns must be addressed if the civilian increase
is to have an impact. Freedom of movement for new staff is critical
to implementing U.S. policy on the ground and extra security
resources are needed at the provincial and district levels.


Eikenberry

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