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Cablegate: Afghanistan: Similar Expectations of Karzai, Prt

VZCZCXRO7205
RR RUEHDBU RUEHPW RUEHSL
DE RUEHHE #0441 3281500
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 241500Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY HELSINKI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5294
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L HELSINKI 000441

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/22/2019
TAGS: AF FI MOPS PREL
SUBJECT: AFGHANISTAN: SIMILAR EXPECTATIONS OF KARZAI, PRT
REDESIGN IN PROGRESS

REF: STATE 118297

Classified By: Pol/Econ Chief Scott Brandon, Reasons 1.4(b) and (d)

1. (C) SUMMARY: In meetings with MFA officials responsible
for Afghanistan policy, poloff delivered reftel points
regarding USG expectations of the new Karzai government and
solicited information on the redesign of the Swedish-Finnish
PRT. The interlocutors noted a lack of USG emphasis on
follow-on elections and economic development while signaling
an interest in hosting a visit from USG officials once a new
Afghanistan strategy has been decided in Washington. The
Swedish-Finnish PRT redesign is likely to receive
political-level approval before mid-2010 but is not likely to
result in a civilian-led PRT. Finland is likely to remove
its four civilians from Mazar-e-Sharif while maintaining the
current level of military forces. When NATO solicits views
from non-ally ISAF troop contributors, the GOF would
appreciate more time to provide its input. END SUMMARY.

2. (C) On November 18 poloff delivered reftel points to MFA
Afghanistan desk officer Niko Heimola. While affirming that
Finland broadly shared the same view of what was required of
the Karzai government, Heimola noted that our points did not
appear to mention setting the conditions for future
parliamentary elections or place much emphasis on
growth/development. Poloff responded that preventing
corruption would be essential to both of these goals.
Regarding the need for the international community to support
Afghan-led reconciliation and reintegration efforts, Heimola
confirmed that the frequent suggestions of Defense Minister
Hakamies that Finnish MP and EU Sudan/Darfur mediator Pekka
Haavisto would be a good candidate to serve as a mediator in
Afghanistan had not been discussed in the GOF. NOTE: This
confirms what we had previously heard. END NOTE He further
mentioned that reintegration is already going on at the local
level in the Finnish-Swedish area of responsibility and that
Finland was working to create &alternative livelihoods8 for
former fighters. He agreed that the process must be
Afghan-led, local, and that results won,t happen quickly.

3. (SBU) Heimola indicated that the GOF would be eager to
hear directly from U.S. officials after President Obama makes
his decision on the new U.S. strategy. He noted that many
GOF officials will be difficult to reach from 25 December
until 7 January.

4. (C) In a separate November 23 meeting with the Director of
the MFA's Security Policy unit, Timo Kantola, poloff
solicited information regarding the possible reconfiguration
of the Finnish-Swedish PRT based in Mazar-e-Sharif. A
somewhat uncomfortable Kantola was dismissive of media
reports indicating that the PRT could become civilian-led and
that the number of Finnish troops might be doubled to two
hundred. "This is not what the Swedes are planning," Kantola
indicated, going on to explain that the Swedes and Finns were
unlikely to adopt the model being used by the Turks, also in
Mazar-e-Sharif, under which Turkish soldiers provide the
force protection while civilians are responsible for most
other duties. Kantola revealed that Finland was nlikely to
continue fielding the four civilians it had in the PRT due to
problems they posed in maintaining a clear chain of command
and the different security standards prevailing for civilians
and soldiers. Kantola expected that the Finnish military
contingent of the PRT would remain at about 100 soldiers but
that Finland would probably provide a few more police
trainers to EUPOL in order to rise from the current 24 to the
goal of 30. A political decision on implementing a
redesigned PRT, whatever it might look like, is likely to
come before April or May, with implementation in the last
half of 2010, according to Kantola. NOTE: GOF sources had
previously indicated that a decision was likely after
April/May 2010 with implementation in 2011. END NOTE.

5. (C) Kantola, whose unit is principally responsible for
ISAF within the MFA, expressed some frustration with the
short time windows in which non-ally ISAF troop contributors
are asked to provide their input. "We usually get a request
for input in the evening and the response needs to be back in
Brussels the next morning," he explained. Even six more
hours to formulate a response would be a welcome improvement
and would go some way towards making Finland feel like its
input was actually valued. Kantola indicated that the GOF
was examining its own internal information flow from its
mission at NATO to ensure the speediest possible
communication regarding ISAF matters.
ORECK

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