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Cablegate: Last Inmate-Controlled Prison in Afghanistan Comes

VZCZCXRO3395
PP RUEHDBU RUEHPW RUEHSL
DE RUEHBUL #3426 3000700
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 270700Z OCT 09 ZDK (SVC STATE 4933)
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2485
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS KABUL 003426

C O R R E C T E D C O P Y (CHG PARA 2 TO SBU)

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/FO, SCA/A, INL
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR AID/ANE, AID/DCHA/DG
NSC FOR JWOOD
OSD FOR MCGRAW
CG CJTF-101, POLAD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KJUS KCRM KCOR KDEM AF
SUBJECT: LAST INMATE-CONTROLLED PRISON IN AFGHANISTAN COMES
UNDER GOVERNMENT CONTROL

1. (U) On September 29, Afghanistan's Central Prison
Directorate (CPD) peacefully transferred all inmates from the
existing prison facility in Lashkar Gah, Helmand province,
which was controlled by inmates, into a newly constructed
facility. The United Kingdom, which runs the PRT in Helmand,
built the new facility directly adjacent to the older
facility. Lashkar Gah was the last provincial prison in
Afghanistan to be fully controlled by inmates; all provincial
prisons in Afghanistan are now under the control of the CPD.

2. (SBU) Prior to September 16, 2009, CPD personnel rarely
entered the Lashkar Gah facility as the inmates (including
some linked with the Taliban) were in complete control. CPD
authorities did not have the precise data on how many inmates
were held in the facility, and there was no classification or
segregation of inmates between insurgents and common
criminals. Due to the old facility's decrepit condition, the
UK constructed a new prison that is in compliance with
international humanitarian standards. On September 26, the
UK transported five CPD Headquarters Commanders and 25 CPD
Emergency Response Team (ERT) members from the
Counter-Narcotics Justice Center in Kabul to Lashkar Gah.
Utilizing the Afghan National Police (ANP) and the UK's Quick
Reaction Forces and patrols for external perimeter security,
on September 28 and 29 the ERT and the CPD Lashkar Gah prison
staff transferred the 383 inmates from the old prison to the
new facility. Prior to transferring, all inmates were
classified by the CPD as political (insurgent), maximum,
medium, or minimum security prisoners and each was assigned
to a commensurate security level cell within the new
facility. CPD authorities and international corrections
experts had some fears this operation could end in violence
(as occurred at Afghanistan's central prison Pol-i-Charkhi in
December 2008, when the CPD retook two wings controlled by
the Taliban, but nine inmates were killed in the process);
however, ultimately no use of force was required at the
Lashkar Gah, and no injuries were sustained by CPD personnel
or the inmates.

3. (U) Prior to this transfer to the new facility, all 40
members of the Lashkar Gah CPD staff received training from
both U.S. and UK corrections assistance programs. During the
summer of 2009, two of INL's Corrections System Support
Program (CSSP) trainers and eight CSSP-trained Afghan
trainers, partnered with the UK's corrections advisors to
conduct the standard two-month basic training course for the
Lashkar Gah CPD staff. The CPD Emergency Response Team (ERT)
deployed to Lashkar Gah also completed CSSP's ERT course and
was one of the same teams that helped regain control of
Pol-i-Charkhi prison from the Taliban in December 2008.

EIKENBERRY

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