Cablegate: Post London Conference Dinner with Dr. Ghani - Discussing

DE RUEHBUL #0472/01 0381503
R 071503Z FEB 10



E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Post London Conference Dinner with Dr. Ghani - Discussing
Anti-Corruption Strategy and the Road to the Kabul Conference

1. (SBU) Summary: Ambassador Wayne hosted a dinner with Dr. Ashraf
Ghani, who led GIRoA in drafting its final Anti-Corruption Concept
Paper presented at the London Conference. The attendees discussed
the way forward for Afghanistan following the London Conference.
Dr. Ghani responded to specific questions raised in Reftel regarding
the implementation of the Afghan Anti-Corruption Concept Paper,
including what milestones should be established, and steps the USG
should take in preparation for the Kabul Conference. End Summary.

2. (SBU) On February 4, Ambassador Wayne hosted a dinner for Dr.
Ashraf Ghani, with Embassy, ISAF, and UK colleagues. Dr. Ghani said
President Karzai asked him to head all of the preparations for the
Kabul Conference. Dr. Ghani indicated negotiations concerning the
specifics of his role had not been concluded. (Local Government
Director Jelani Popal independently confirmed that Karzai wants
Ghani to manage the substantive side of the Kabul Conference.)

3. (SBU) As requested in Reftel, post is providing Dr. Ghani's
responses to the following questions.

Q1: What are the concrete steps the Afghan government intends to
take regarding the HOO and implementation of the Anti-Corruption
Concept Paper, and over what period of time?

A: The Afghan government is committed to complying with the London
Communique. According to Ghani, the GIRoA has started drafting the
"Ferman" (decree), which would strengthen the High Office of
Oversight (HOO), among other measures.

Q2: Will President Karzai meet the timelines set out in the
communiqu? What milestones are we asking them to meet in the
run-up to Kabul?

A: Presenting his own views, which are not yet cleared with the POA,
Ghani suggested GIRoA prepare for the Kabul Conference by
establishing a series of consecutive, 100-day rolling plans for each
of the concept papers, including anti-corruption. Dr. Ghani
envisioned ten concept papers. The first cycle of the 100-day
rolling plans would begin in anticipation of the Kabul Conference.
GIRoA and the international community would monitor action on the
rolling plans and modify or update them in succeeding versions. He
said any support to the GIRoA in developing the plans should be in
the form of technical professionals who currently work or have
worked in government. Ghani viewed the Anti-Corruption Concept
Paper as the basis for the first anti-corruption rolling plan, with
implementation of specified actions in the Concept Paper to take
place over the next five years. (Note: Using 100 day increments
for measuring achievement early in the process could be helpful to
establish deliverable Afghan results while maintaining steady
progress to satisfy the IC donors. End Note). In terms of short- to
medium-term actions GIRoA could take, Ghani stated efforts should
focus on the "low-hanging fruit," or establishing goals to
demonstrate real and immediate accomplishments to the Afghan people.
He indicated most of the Government's efforts should focus on the
"five Ministries that are the strongest and control 80% of Afghan
government expenditures." (MAIL, MOF, MRRD, MoPH and MOE).

Regarding milestones the U.S. should seek from GIRoA, post will
engage Afghan officials during the drafting of the rolling
implementation plans and executive order(s) to assist in developing
language to advance HOO independence, including establishment of a
regular Independent Monitoring and Evaluation Mission (IMEM), and
specifying how HOO leadership would be recruited and vetted.

Q3: How will [the Afghan Government] formalize the "Ad Hoc
Monitoring Mission," i.e., its broad framework, composition
(international or otherwise) and authority? What are we
recommending as the minimum requirements, and is there a line in the
sand? What do we recommend if they do not agree to substantial
international participation or representation in the IMEM?

A: There appears to have been a communication gap within the Afghan
team in London on this particular issue. Because the Afghan team
had not discussed the idea with President Karzai, the concept was
diluted in the communiqu. According to Dr. Ghani, the IMEM needs
to be raised again with the President which he said he would do.

Ambassador Wayne stressed the importance of the original concept as
was discussed in the Anti-Corruption Concept Paper, a position the
UK supported in informal discussions. Post will suspend further
action pending the outcome of the Ghani/Karzai discussions. If
there is no movement on this issue, the issue will be raised
bilaterally between the USG and the POA.

Q4: How will the future director and senior staff of HOO be
selected, in what timeframe, and how will they be insulated from the
Executive Office?

A: Informally, the UK agrees with Post's opinion that the HOO needs
new pro-active and independent executive leadership to bring about a
real change in management to the organization.

KABUL 00000472 002 OF 002

Post will encourage GIRoA to consult on possible candidates to
demonstrate Afghan commitment to strengthening the HOO. Absent
evidence of commitment, these issues will have to be addressed at a
higher level.

In discussing HOO independence, and Afghan commitment to
implementing strong anti-corruption measures, Ghani admitted the IC
wants to establish firm "lines in the sand." In terms of "sticks,"
Ghani agreed that beyond moral persuasion, cutting off funding for
the HOO would not have a significant impact on the Government,
though it may be a necessary step for purposes of proper management
of USG resources. He suggested (protect strictly) the USG consider
establishing conditions related to direct funding to other
Ministries, specifically the Ministry of Finance and USG support of
the Afghan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), or other current or
future USG direct funding instruments.

Dr. Ghani indicated that the US should avoid creating a perception
by President Karzai that its support for anti-corruption is limited
to using law enforcement to target key political allies. Ghani
suggested the USG should employ other measures to promote the
anti-corruption agenda, for example working directly with more
receptive ministries such as the Finance Ministry. Finally, Ghani
said any initiative should be viewed, to the maximum extent
possible, as Afghan-originated rather than foreign-imposed.

4. (SBU) In a general comment by Dr. Ghani, he compared the
opportunities ahead for the Afghan government to the Franklin
Roosevelt Administration at the beginning of the "New Deal." He
concluded that in the end it was necessary to make existing programs
work better. He recognized however that efforts are needed to
address the "drivers of anti-corruption" to achieve any measurable


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