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Cablegate: Funding Request for Containerized Housing Units (Chus) In

VZCZCXRO6484
RR RUEHDBU RUEHPW RUEHSL
DE RUEHBUL #3871 3371354
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 031354Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3715
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHRC/USDA WASHDC

UNCLAS KABUL 003871

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: AMGT PGOV AF
SUBJECT: Funding Request for Containerized Housing Units (CHUs) in
Afghanistan to Support Civilian Uplift in the Field

REF: KABUL 3870

1. (SBU) Summary: For coalition-led PRTs, Post is requesting a total
of 21 Containerized Housing Units (CHUs) with a total estimated cost
of $2.1 million to support the increase of U.S. civilians in
Afghanistan. As the civilian uplift progresses, Post may request
additional containers at a later date, in particular to support the
RC-N and RC-W regional platforms. We may also consider
pre-positioning some CHUs at the Mazar and Herat consulate sites for
use while the new consulate facilities undergo renovation. Due to
the approximately 60-day delay between ordering and delivery of the
containers and the onset of winter, Post would appreciate
Department's timely consideration and approval of this request.
(End Summary)
2. (SBU) To accommodate the increase of USG civilians throughout
Afghanistan, Embassy Kabul has asked coalition partners to support
the deployment of additional U.S. civilians at coalition PRTs and
other facilities. In general, coalition partners have responded
favorably, indicating a genuine interest in having additional U.S.
personnel join their teams (reftel). Many of the coalition-led
facilities, however, lack sufficient housing and office space to
accommodate additional U.S. personnel. Post therefore proposes to
purchase 21 containerized housing units (CHUs) to be used for
lodging and office space at these coalition-led facilities. The
estimated cost of the containers is approximately $2.1 million,
including shipping to Kabul (costs of shipping within Afghanistan
will vary by location and road conditions, but are not expected to
exceed a few thousand dollars per container). Agency reps at Post
agree that this cost will be proportionally distributed between
State, USAID and USDA, based on the number of personnel using the
containers.
3. (SBU) The CHUs usually represent the best possible solution
under the circumstances. Coalition partners are reluctant to
purchase or build office or living space on their facilities for
U.S. civilians without 1) compensation and 2) a formal agreement
outlining the terms and modalities of support. For several years,
coalition partners have hosted and supported U.S. civilians at
coalition-led PRTs without any formal agreement or reimbursement.
Some partners present U.S. civilians with monthly bills for lodging,
food and other support; we have never paid these bills because of
the lack of an MOU or other legal framework. The Germans, Swedes
and Spanish are now insisting on concluding "life support"
agreements.
4. (SBU) Post believes the quickest and most effective approach to
concluding such agreements is negotiating individual memoranda of
understanding with each partner, since ISAF officials have advised
us that a comprehensive agreement with ISAF would involve a lengthy
negotiating and approval process. Post has already initiated
negotiations, and has shared a draft MOA with all coalition partners
and offices in the Department, including L (reftel).
5. (SBU) It is important to note that under the MOAs, the USG will
be responsible for paying the life support costs of USG personnel on
the coalition-led bases, including food, internet connection and
housing. We will need to pay for any improvements, building
construction or containers needed to accommodate our personnel. It
will be faster and more effective to purchase items such as
containers ourselves, rather than to ask coalition-led PRTs to
procure them and then be reimbursed. This will also ensure that the
CHUs meet U.S. standards for life safety and health. Asking
partners to procure these items would also add layers to the
accounting, needlessly delaying the process and increasing
administrative costs for everyone involved.
6. (SBU) Due to the approximately 60-day delay between ordering and
delivery of the containers, as well as the onset of winter, Post
requests Department's timely consideration and approval of this
request. As the civilian uplift progresses, Post may request
additional containers, especially to support the RC-N and RC-W
regional platforms. We may also consider pre-positioning some CHUs
at the Mazar and Herat consulate sites for use while the new
consulate facilities undergo renovation.
MUSSOMELI

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