Cablegate: Ahmed Wali Karzai: Seeking to Define Himslef As U.S. Partner?

DE RUEHBUL #0693/01 0560405
O 250405Z FEB 10

SECRET SECTION 01 of 03 KABUL 000693



E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/25/2020

REF: A. (a) KABUL 673
B. (b) 09 KABUL 3068

Classified By: Interagency Provincial Affairs Deputy Director Hoyt Yee
for Reasons 1.4(b) and (d)

1. (S//Rel NATO, ISAF) Begin Summary. Senior Civilian
Representative (SCR) Frank Ruggiero met one-on-one with Ahmed
Wali Karzai (AWK) on February 23. SCR informed AWK that
coalition attention will turn to Kandahar in the next phase
of Operation Moshtarak (Together) and the United States will
play a far greater role in Kandahar on the military and
civilian sides. SCR outlined the coalition governance
strategy for Kandahar and cautioned ISAF will seek
non-interference by powerbrokers in police matters. AWK
discussed the recent capture of Taliban leader Mullah Baradar
in Kandahar, district and provincial-level politics, Kandahar
economics and security, the role of xxxxxxxxxxxx
narcotics, a southern Pashtoon political party,
competition with Nangarhar Governor Gulaga Sherzai, and AWK's
life in Chicago from 1983-1992. AWK appeared nervous, but
eager to engage with a U.S. official. End Summary.

Focus on Kandahar

2. (S//Rel NATO, ISAF) SCR told AWK the attention of the
Afghan government, with ISAF support, would turn to Kandahar
in the months ahead and it was likely this would be
predominantly a political contest that would require the
leadership from the highest level of the Afghan government.
SCR discussed the governance strategy for Kandahar City and
surrounding districts. AWK understood the next phase of
operation Moshtarak would be on Kandahar and offered his
support. SCR responded this would be an Afghan
Government-led effort and the coalition would be focusing its
resources on building up that capacity. SCR was clear the
coalition would not tolerate individuals working at odds to
ISAF campaign aims. AWK stated "nobody is that stupid."

Better Security and Economy in Kandahar

3. (S//Rel NATO, ISAF) AWK told the SCR that security has
improved in Kandahar over the past year. Freedom of movement
had increased across the province, he said, citing his
driving to the meeting at Kandahar Airfield with minimum
security. AWK said insurgents no longer have the capability
to launch large scale attacks; for example, AWK does not fear
an insurgent attack on his home. AWK expressed concern about
a series of assassinations aimed at Afghan officials and
Afghan citizens who work for the coalition in the city,
noting this could only be solved by intelligence assets. AWK
said economic activity had increased in the Kandahar City
area, but noted his belief that President Karzai is largely
unaware of these gains. AWK told the President about
increased economic activity in Arghandab related to AVIPA
Plus and the President was very surprised, he said. AWK said
the President did not understand the changing circumstances
in the province.

Kandahar Politics Are Local

4. (S//Rel NATO, ISAF) AWK said that it was important to get
district-level tribal dynamics right to bring stability to
Kandahar City and its environs. AWK specifically stated the
need to rely on local, village elders to choose
representatives to district shuras. This would ensure a
representative shura for district level officials, said AWK
and pointed to the succession of Arghandab-based Alikozai
leader Mullah Naqib. AWK said the Alikozais chose Mullah
Naqib's son, Karimullah, to lead the Alikozai. SCR pointed
out coalition conventional wisdom that President Karzai had
interfered in that process to appoint Karimullah, which led
to certain Alikozai elements to support the Taliban in
Arghandab. AWK said, unconvincingly, this was not the case.
AWK then contradicted himself and said Karimullah, in fact,
did not lead the Alikozai, but AWK's deputy at the provincial
council Dastegeeri, was the most influential Alikozai in

Police in the South xxxxxxxxxxxx

5. (S//Rel NATO, ISAF) SCR told AWK the coalition would not
accept powerbroker interference with the police and used the
example of citizens in Marjah telling Marines they would not

Kabul 00000693 002 of 003

support GIRoA due to past xxxxxxxxxxxx abuses xxxxxxxxxxxx
Kandahar does not have similar issues
of interference with the police, he said, but SCR pressed
saying we are aware of a recent incident when the Kandahar
governor sought to remove the Panjwa'i chief of police, but
someone had intervened to halt that removal. AWK, who is
believed to have prevented Governor Weesa from firing the
police chief, said the governor had the power to remove
police officials and should exercise that authority in
Panjwa'i. AWK characterized Governor Weesa as honest and a
powerful figure in Kandahar, but he needed to be more
aggressive. In the same breath, AWK said he was the most
powerful official in Kandahar and could deliver whatever is

Capture of Mullah Baradar

6. (S//Rel NATO, ISAF) SCR asked AWK his views on the recent
capture in Pakistan of Taliban leader Mullah Baradar. AWK
said Pakistan detained Baradar and other Taliban leaders
because they were prepared to discuss reintegration with the
Karzai government. Senior Taliban fighters in Pakistan may
be prepared to reintegrate, he said, but are forced by the
Pakistan Government to continue to fight. AWK said some
Afghan Taliban commanders cannot return to Afghanistan
because they are on the Joint Priority Effects List (JPEL)
and are told by the Pakistanis they must continue to fight or
will be turned over to the coalition. It is important to
remove such fighters from the JPEL for reintegration to work,
he argued, adding that he has been working on the
reconciliation issue with the Saudis for two-three years.
AWK offered a meeting with SCR and his older brother and
former Member of Parliament for Kandahar Kayyum Karzai in the
next few weeks to discuss ongoing reintegration discussions
with the Saudis.

Drug Trafficker: Where is the Polygraph?

7. (S//Rel NATO, ISAF) Unprompted, AWK raised allegations of
his involvement in narcotics, telling the SCR that he is
willing to take a polygraph anytime, anywhere to prove his
innocence and that he has hired an attorney in New York to
clear his name. He suggested that the coalition pay mullahs
to preach against heroin, which would reduce demand for poppy
cultivation. AWK dismissed the narcotics allegations as part
of a campaign to discredit him, particularly by the media,
saying the allegations are "like a spice added to a dish to
make it more enticing to eat."

A Political Party for Southern Pashtuns?

8. (S//Rel NATO, ISAF) SCR asked AWK if there are discussions
to create a Pashtun-oriented political party in the South.
AWK said such a party would be announced shortly and it would
encompass southern Pashtuns from Herat to Kandahar; Tajiks
also would be represented. AWK said Afghans are reluctant to
join political parties because they are associated with the
communist party and Islamic fundamentalist movements, like
the Taliban. He added that he could not be part of another
election because he had to personally manage promises to
hundreds of thousands of voters in the last election.

Gulaga Sherzai: Competitor

9. (S//Rel NATO, ISAF) SCR raised the recent 1,500 person
shura co-hosted by AWK and Sherzai in Kandahar City (Reftel
B). AWK said Sherzai was not to be trusted, but he was
willing to work with him on a peace jirga to deliver peace to
the south. AWK passionately presented his history of working
with the United States since 2001 and told the SCR that he
could deliver anything needed.

Missing Wrigley

10. (SBU//Rel NATO, ISAF) Further emphasizing his links to
the United States, AWK fondly recalled his days in Chicago as
a restaurant owner close to Chicago's Wrigley Field. His

Kabul 00000693 003 of 003

restaurant was a hub for American in the Midwest who had
worked or lived in Afghanistan prior to the Soviet invasion,
he said.


11. (S//Rel NATO, ISAF) AWK was eager to engage and rarely
stopped talking in the two hour meeting. While he presented
himself as a partner to the United States and is eager to be
seen as helping the coalition, he also demonstrated that he
will dissemble when it suits his needs. He appears not to
understand the level of our knowledge of his activities, and
that the coalition views many of his activities as malign,
particularly relating to his influence over the police. We
will need to monitor his activity closely, and deliver a
recurring, transparent message to him of where are redlines
are and what we expect of him in the months ahead.

© Scoop Media

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