Cablegate: New Civ-Mil Effort to Influence Behavior of Criminal And

DE RUEHBUL #0571/01 0461050
P 151050Z FEB 10

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KABUL 000571


E.O. 12598: DECL: 02/15/2020

Classified by Acting Deputy Ambassador Joseph A. Mussomeli for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C//REL ISAF) Summary: The first Nexus-Corruption Leadership Board, co-chaired by Coordinating Director for Development and Economic Affairs, Ambassador Wayne, and ISAF J2 (Intel), Major General Flynn, met on February 4 to consider possible courses of action (“COAs”) that U.S. military and Embassy personnel may employ against criminal and corrupt Afghan officials in an effort to change their behavior. These recommendations were developed through the joint effort of the Embassy’s Nexus-Corruption Coordination committee (NCC) and ISAF’s Anti-Corruption Task Force (ACTF). The Leadership Board approved three recommendations: (1) to apply a set of minimum COAs against high-profile corrupt officials to signal a change in U.S. policy on corruption; (2) to begin a series of high-level demarches to persuade the Karzai government to follow through on promises to tackle corruption; and (3) to consider at the next Leadership Board meeting recommendations on applying appropriate COAs, including possible law enforcement actions, against three prominent Afghan malign actors in southern Afghanistan: Abdul Razziq, Ahmed Wali Karzai, Asadullah Sherzad. End Summary.

2. (C//REL ISAF) The purpose of the NCC is to develop policy recommendations on ways to reduce and combat official corruption and “nexus” criminal activities (i.e., insurgency, narcotics and criminality). The membership of the NCC includes representatives from U.S. law enforcement agencies, U.S. Treasury, and a cleared American from ISAF. ISAF’s ACTF works in partnership with the NCC and the international community (e.g., the UK and the UN) to develop policy goals, prioritize policy towards important malign actors (i.e., corrupt/criminal Afghan officials), and determine appropriate courses of action to change their behavior.

Board Considers Courses of Action (COA) Policy
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3. (C//REL ISAF) In the first meeting of the Leadership Board, co-chairs Ambassador Wayne and MG Flynn approved the concept of applying non-law enforcement COAs to corrupt officials on a case-by-case basis. Possible COAs can run the spectrum from refusing to appear in a picture with a corrupt official, to cutting off USG funded assistance, to seizing ill-gotten assets, to applying Presidential Proclamation 7750, which prevents the corrupt official and his/her family from obtaining U.S. visas. No COAs are intended to preclude or replace prosecutions when appropriate, but to serve as tools to be considered to alter illicit behavior in addition to prosecution, or when prosecution is not possible or has a low likelihood of success. The policy also provides that no COA is recommended that will hinder, prevent, or interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation or prosecution. However, in many cases, the proposed measure may be as or more effective than law enforcement actions in influencing the conduct of officials involved in corruption or nexus-related activities, particularly at the local level.

4. (C//REL ISAF) Ambassador Wayne and MG Flynn also agreed to the recommendation to develop a “basket” of minimum COAs that would be applied as a default to all corrupt officials that are prioritized as persons of interest by NCC and/or ACTF. These minimum COAs include: (1) no public meetings with the official (and no photos), and no high-profile public visits from CODELs and other dignitaries; (2) no giving or receiving of gifts; and (3) restrictions on opportunities for corrupt officials to participate in U.S.-funded training, travel, and speaking engagements. Applying minimum COAs is designed to help change perceptions held by parts of the Afghan public that the U.S. supports, explicitly or implicitly, known corrupt officials.

Positive Incentives for Positive Acts

5. (C//REL ISAF) The COA policy approved by the Leadership Board also provides for positive incentives for Afghan officials who have demonstrated that they are not corrupt, who facilitate U.S. efforts and are positive influences in a given province or district. Examples of positive courses of action include recognition for a notable activity, project funding, consideration for training opportunities, media opportunities, etc.

Board Will Consider Application of COAs at Next Meeting

6. (C//REL ISAF) The meeting decided that ACTF and NCC will meet prior to the next Leadership Board meeting (convened monthly) to consider intel and law enforcement files assembled on three powerful officials operating in the south of the country who are believed to be corrupt: ABP Commander at Weesh Chaman border crossing Colonel Abdul Razziq, Ahmed Wali Karzai, and Chief of Police Asadullah Sherzad. ACTF and NCC will make a joint policy recommendation on how these officials should be addressed, taking into consideration second and third order effects and the input of military and civilian experts in the field. Ambassador Wayne and MG Flynn will review the
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recommendations at the next Leadership Board meeting, and their decision will be reported septel. They will also consider recommendations on a series of high-level demarches intended to encourage President Karzai to honor his public commitment to fight corruption. (Note: Work on formulating these recommendations is underway. End Note)

Background: NCC, the ACTF, and the Leadership Board
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7. (C//REL ISAF) The NCC learns of corrupt and criminal actions through regular field reporting, law enforcement and intel activities, policy meetings, and from international partners. The National Level Civ-Mil Anti-Corruption, Counternarcotics, and Illicit Finance Working Groups also refer information to, receive referrals from, and coordinate actions with the NCC. When incriminating information is obtained about an Afghan official of national prominence, or whose actions have a destabilizing effect on the U.S. mission, the NCC considers possible COAs in cooperation with ISAF’s ACTF. NCC members include working level representatives from FBI, DEA, DOJ, POL, SIGAR, Afghan Threat Finance Cell (AFTC), RAO, and Treasury, as well as other U.S. agencies. Cleared Americans from ISAF, IJC J2, CJIATF-NEXUS and targeting staff are also invited to participate.

8. (C//REL ISAF) As described above, the NCC will make recommendations to the Leadership Board, comprised of General-level officers from the Embassy and ISAF. Currently, the Leadership Board meetings are co-chaired by CDDEA Ambassador Wayne or Deputy Ambassador Ricciardone and ISAF J2 MG Flynn. The Leadership Board will review recommendations on nexus-related or corruption issues involving situations that could negatively impact the U.S. relationship with key government officials or ministries. At its discretion, the Leadership Board may forward a case up to the Leadership Team, consisting of the U.S. Ambassador and the Commander, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan/Commander ISAF, or their designated representatives. The Leadership Team will review any nexus-corruption report involving a prominent official or having implications that would negatively impact the U.S. relationship with key government officials or ministries. At any time, the Leadership Team may convene meetings to discuss sensitive cases or to review Leadership Board decisions and recommendations as part of the weekly Principals Meeting.


9. (C//REL ISAF) Recognizing the major limitations of law enforcement actions in Afghanistan at this time (due to lack of capacity and lack of political will), this civ-mil effort will use pragmatic courses of action to end tacit American support for corrupt Afghan officials and to attempt to change the illicit behavior of officials and influential Afghans. Given the fluidity of developments on the ground (e.g., rumors of Ahmed Wali Karzai’s appointment as Ambassador to Saudi Arabia or Oman, and Abdul Razziq’s initiative to form an anti-corruption task force in Spin Boldak), the time is right to determine an appropriate policy for dealing with such officials. End comment.

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