Cablegate: Afghanistan: Vignettes From the Field

DE RUEHBUL #3100/01 2781324
R 051324Z OCT 09 ZDK




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: (A) KABUL 2939, (B) Kabul 2996, (C) Kabul 3057

1. (SBU) Begin Summary. U.S. civilians in the field continue to work
closely with the Afghan Government and their military colleagues to
support governance, economic development, and security. New
structures and strategies have been integral to placing our people
in key positions in the field where they can work through Afghan
government structures in close collaboration with coalition military
partners, consistent with the Integrated Civilian-Military Campaign
Plan for Support to Afghanistan. This cable includes a number of
vignettes. A key focus of civilian efforts has been to support the
agricultural sector, Afghanistan's leading source of revenue (see
Ref A). Many civilians, particularly in the South, have been at the
front lines to bring governance and basic services to communities
immediately following military operations. Additionally, programs
to develop capacity to improve governance and the rule of law are
part of the daily activities of most officers in the field.
Continued progress on these and other efforts, and on civilian
increase, will require additional resources and support from
Washington, including for security, mobility and "life support"
(Reftels B and C). End Summary.

Creating Structures for Enhanced Civilian Effort

2. (U) The creation of Senior Civilian Representative (SCR)
positions in the East and South in July 2009 has been essential to
bringing increased management, direction, and oversight to civilian
officers working in the field and has dramatically strengthened the
civil-military unity of effort. Since the SCR is the U.S. civilian
counterpart to the military commander in the Regional Command (RC)
and coordinates the work of all U.S. civilian personnel in his or
her region, these officers are able to ensure that civilian and
military capabilities are working together to advance our strategic
goals. Similar positions are being created in the North and West to
enhance the unity of effort in those regions (septel).

3. (U) An additional area of enhanced unity of effort has been
tested in the East at the brigade level through the creation of a
"Board of Directors" approach. In that case, the Defense, State,
USAID, USDA lead representatives each serve on the Board and
coordinate all activities under his/her assigned line of operation
(e.g. governance for State) across the brigade's entire area of
responsibility (AOR). Under this "hub and spoke" model, one
civilian supports and directs the efforts of company commanders,
military civil affairs teams, Agricultural Development Teams (ADTs),
and others on governance work in multiple districts throughout the
AOR. The State officer is also a source of information for those in
his chain as he provides reach back to the PRT, the Brigade, and
ultimately the Embassy.

4. (U) Civilian lash-up at ISAF headquarters is also key to
advancing civil-military integration. For example, State and USAID
officers have worked directly with ISAF Headquarters in development
of ISAF's operational planning and orders, providing vital civilian
input on how to make rapid gains in governance and development.
Integrated civilian-military working groups at the Embassy provide
real-time guidance to teams in the field on issues from
infrastructure to border management. This kind of civil-military
collaboration at all levels of the military structure has made a
difference. A Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) Civil Affairs
Officer told Ambassador Eikenberry that the MEB depended on civilian
personnel for their expertise, skills (e.g. governance and
agriculture), and the civilian perspective essential for effective
counter-insurgency efforts, noting that a conversation between an
Afghan civilian and a U.S. civilian is qualitatively different than
with a U.S. soldier.

Augmenting the Afghan Agricultural Sector

5. (U) The agricultural sector has been a key area of focus for U.S.
civilians. From infrastructure, to capacity building, to training,
the work has helped augment Afghan capacity. State and USAID
representatives, working with local officials in Helmand, assisted
with the construction of Bost civilian airfield. The completion of
the airfield in the center of one of Afghanistan's key agricultural
regions has resulted in the return of local passenger air service to
and from Helmand, as well as a commercial air service hub for the
shipment of local agricultural produce. The agricultural voucher
and cash for work program is having good positive impacts in the
same province (see Reftel A). In nearby Zabul province, the USDA
representative created an extension agent training program for
agricultural workers from Zabul's remote districts so that thousands
of subsistence farmers would have access to improved seeds and
agriculture techniques.

6. (U) In the northeastern province of Nuristan, the USDA
representative worked with UN and local experts to train

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district-level government officials and community representatives
from across the province in agricultural, forestry, and natural
resource management techniques. In RC- East's Kapisa province,
State, USAID, and USDA officers working with U.S. military were
instrumental in facilitating the formation of a pomegranate
cooperative in the critical district of Tagab. As a result of this
promising initiative, pomegranate sales could quadruple from
$800,000 to over $5.6 million. In Kunar to the North, USDA
representative supports farmer workshops that are assisting 260
farmers in nine districts this year on orchard management, crop
production, composting, forest management, and livestock

On the Front Lines: Working in Conflicted Areas

7. (U) Often, State, USAID, and USDA officers are called upon to
work in districts just days after military operations have secured
an area. A Marine Expeditionary Brigade commander in the Southern
Province of Helmand's Nawa district told Ambassador Eikenberry that
civilians were essential to the mission, and that a small number
could make a huge difference. A few USAID personnel armed with the
right expertise and programs were invaluable, he said. USAID and
State officers in Helmand Province, worked closely with the Marines
and the UK to develop planning for governance immediately following
Marine operations in the districts of Nawa and Khaneshin, and were
instrumental in helping the GIRoA reestablish district governance
and basic services following the operations. For example, just 48
hours after U.S. Marines had cleared Khaneshin, a USAID rapid
response team arrived to begin stabilization efforts. In Farah
Province in southwestern Afghanistan, State, USAID, and USDA
officers worked in conjunction with the Marines to help local
government officials establish basic services as part of the
clear-and-hold phase in Golistan and Baqwa districts.

8. (U) In the West in Herat Province's problematic Guzara district,
the USAID representative and deputy field officer are facilitating a
joint U.S. Special Forces - Herat Health Department Medical Combat
Assistance Patrol (MEDCAP) and potentially a Basic Health Center.
The State representative, working with the PRT Commander in the
eastern province of Paktya, accompanied Paktya's Deputy Governor
Mangal to a shura meeting in the Chamkani district to help resolve a
two-year conflict that has re-emerged on the Paktya/Pakistan Border
between the Shi'a Turi tribe and the Sunni Bushara tribe. Joined by
UNAMA and UNHCR at the shura, the delegation was successful in
helping stabilize the fragile situation through direct interaction
with local leadership.

Advancing Governance and Developing Afghan Capacity

9. (U) Civilians in the field are daily interacting with and
assisting the development of provincial and district governance. A
brigade commander in Parwan, adjacent to Kabul, informed Ambassador
Eikenberry in September that State Department officers are critical
to the success of the brigade's work with the local government.
Foreign Service Officers have training and experience not available
to soldiers, he said. The work of our officers can take many forms.
For example, the State representative at the brigade level in Logar
Province in eastern Afghanistan notes that joint civilian and
military engagements have fostered security, governance,
development, and communications, including helping to establish the
pilot Afghan Public Protection Program (AP3) and revitalize the
provincial development councils. In the remote eastern province of
Nuristan, the State officer recently kicked off a "model district"
program, which transfers to Afghan officials the responsibility for
planning, prioritizing, and budgeting for Commander's Emergency
Response Program (CERP)-funded projects in their districts.

10. (U) Capacity building is a key element of the work of civilians
in the field. In the northeastern province of Kunar, USAID and
State representatives have worked with the military to train
students via the Kunar Construction Company. This program teaches
fighting age males marketable job skills such as electrical wiring,
plumbing, rebar bending, woodworking, painting, and masonry. A ROL
coordinator in the East is working with military partners to
facilitate Huqoq legal training, which will train members of the
Huqoq courts (a civil law mediation and arbitration system headed by
the Ministry of Justice that relies on some elements of the local
informal justice system) in order to enhance the Huqoq courts as
dispute-resolving mechanisms and develop public awareness of legal
rights and the GIRoA role. In the South's Helmand Province, the
Rule of Law Coordinator has been working with the PRT, Marines and
UK Military to enhance GIRoA capacity to investigate and prosecute
insurgent violence. In the northern Province of Kunduz, the State
PRT Officer is working closely with U.S. Police Mentor Teams to
design and implement a community-oriented policing strategy focused

KABUL 00003100 003 OF 003

on getting ANP into the community and building trust and cooperation
with the population. In Mazar-e Sharif, in northern Balk Province,
USAID and State officers worked with the Embassy to help the Islamic
Investment Finance Corporation (IIFC) establish a loan system that
so far has provided some 31,000 Shariat-compliant loans to deserving
applicants, amounting to about $20 million.

Advancing Women's Issues

11. (U) Advancing opportunities and protections for women also has
been a key focus of efforts in Afghanistan's provinces. In Kunar,
USDA and USAID representatives coordinated with Afghan Conservation
Corps to hold trainings for women on home poultry production. In
the northern province of Kunduz as well as in Badghis to the west,
State and USAID PRT Officers are working with a U.S.-based NGO to
secure funding to build a shelter for abused women, which will
significantly improve the situation of women suffering from domestic


12. (SBU) As illustrated by these vignettes, U.S. civilians and
military in the field, working closely with Afghan and coalition
counterparts, are advancing U.S. policy in Afghanistan despite
formidable challenges. Continued progress on governance, economic
development and security efforts, as well as our civilian increase
in the field, will depend in large part on additional resources and
support from Washington, including for security, mobility, housing
and other life support in the field (details provided in reftels B
and C).


© Scoop Media

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