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Viewing cable 06KABUL2862, PRT/KUNDUZ: NEW POLICE CHIEFS RAISE HOPES

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KABUL2862 2006-06-25 09:09 2011-01-23 19:07 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Kabul
VZCZCXRO9749
OO RUEHDBU RUEHIK RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #2862/01 1760950
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 250950Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1012
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//JF/UNMA//
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC//J3//
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUMICEA/JICCENT MACDILL AFB FL
RHMFIUU/COMSOCCENT MACDILL AFB FL
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2633
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 2783
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 6084
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA 1458
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 KABUL 002862 

SIPDIS 

SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
RELEASABLE TO NATO/AUST/NZ/ISAF 

STATE FOR SCA/FO, SCA/A, S/CRS, SA/PAB, S/CT, 
EUR/RPM, INL 
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR AID/ANE, AID/DCHA/DG 
NSC FOR AHARRIMAN 
OSD FOR BREZINSKI 
CENTCOM FOR CG CFC-A, CG CJTF-76, POLAD 

E.O. 12958 N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV SNAR MARR AF
SUBJECT: PRT/KUNDUZ: NEW POLICE CHIEFS RAISE HOPES 
FOR FUNDAMENTAL IMPROVEMENTS IN NORTHEAST 

KABUL 00002862 001.2 OF 005 


1. (SBU) SUMMARY. The new police chiefs in Kunduz, 
Baghlan and Takhar are well-educated, professional, 
career police officers who have risen through the 
ranks over the past 20 to 25 years, assiduously 
avoiding direct participation in partisan politics 
and earning a reputation for loyalty and integrity. 
This stands in stark contrast to the former 
mujahideen commanders they are replacing, who had no 
formal police training or experience before being 
appointed as police chiefs and who have abused their 
positions of authority to engage in a broad range of 
criminal activity. While there are great hopes for 
these new chiefs, some question whether they will 
have the power and local support necessary to be 
effective. There is also a concern that given their 
low salaries, the pervasive culture of corruption, 
and pressure from local warlords, it may only be a 
matter of time before they fall to the same 
temptations as their predecessors. END SUMMARY. 

WATERSHED APPOINTMENTS 
------------------------------------------ 

2. (SBU) The new police chiefs in Kunduz, Baghlan 
and Takhar, appointed earlier this month as part of 
the ongoing pay and rank reform in the Afghan 
National Police, could not be more different from 
the old-guard, former mujahideen commanders they are 
replacing. The new chiefs -- Sayed Ahmad Sameh in 
Kunduz, Mohammad Ewaz in Baghlan and Mujtaba Patang 
in Takhar -- are well-educated, professional, career 
police officers, all of whom got their start during 
the Soviet-backed Karmal regime of the early 1980s. 
Sameh, Ewaz and Patang have slowly risen through the 
ranks over the past 20 to 25 years, assiduously 
avoiding direct participation in partisan politics 
and earning a reputation for loyalty and integrity. 
None of them fought in the jihad against the Soviets 
or the Taliban, but chose instead to keep their 
heads down and to work faithfully as police officers 
under whatever government existed at the time. 

3. (SBU) This, of course, stands in stark contrast 
to the career path of their predecessors, Mutalib 
Beg (mostly recently police chief in Kunduz and 
before that, in Takhar) and Mir Alam (police chief 
in Baghlan). Both were major mujahideen commanders 
who had little higher education and no formal police 
training or experience before being appointed as 
police chiefs. Mir Alam had been commander of the 
54th AMF Division in Kunduz, while Mutalib Beg was a 
Takhar-based commander closely associated with his 
Uzbek compatriot General Dostum. But even after 
their appointments as police chiefs, both continued 
to act as mujahideen commanders rather than 
professional police officers, abusing their 
positions of authority to engage in a broad range of 
criminal activity, including extortion, bribery and 
drug trafficking. Their removal from power 
constitutes a major step forward in establishing 
rule of law in the northeast. 

OUT OF A JOB, BUT NOT OUT OF POWER 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 

KABUL 00002862 002.2 OF 005 


----- 

4. (SBU) One potential problem, however, is that 
while they are no longer police chiefs, they both 
still exercise significant power and influence in 
the region, and could frustrate the efforts of their 
successors to establish law and order. Alam, who 
has serious health problems, has moved back to 
Kunduz with no apparent immediate plans for the 
future. Already a wealthy man, Alam may ultimately 
choose to retire rather seeking another government 
position. On the other hand, Beg, who was escorted 
to his native Taloqan by a 100-car convoy after his 
June 6 replacement as police chief, clearly has 
ambitions for higher office. He claims he was 
already offered the governorship of Faryab province, 
but rejected it because it was too far away and he 
was not sure he would have the necessary public 
support there. He is clearly aiming for a 
governorship much closer to home. Of course, it 
would completely undermine the positive effect of 
having new, professional police chiefs in Kunduz and 
Takhar if Beg got his wish and was appointed to be 
governor of one of these two provinces. 

5. (U) The following biographic information comes 
from extensive meetings that PRToff has had with the 
three police chiefs over the past two weeks. 

MOHAMMED EWAZ: NEW CHIEF IN BAGHLAN 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 
------------- 

6. (SBU) Mohammed Ewaz, 51, has spent the last two 
years serving as the commander of the Northeast 
Police Regional Training Center (RTC) in Kunduz. 
His American mentors at the RTC give him rave 
reviews for his leadership skills and integrity. 
Ewaz, an ethnic Tajik, was born and spent his 
formative years in Badakhshan, but attended high 
school in Kabul. He went on to study Afghan culture 
at Kabul University, eventually graduating with a 
diploma. He then worked as a high school teacher in 
Kabul for two years before deciding to pursue a 
career in law enforcement. He attended the police 
academy in Kabul for one year and was then assigned 
to Takhar police force, where he served in a variety 
of positions over a 20-year period, including 
battalion commander in Khwaja Ghar District along 
the border with Tajikistan; head of the information 
and culture section; chief of police in Rustaq 
District; chief of provincial police operations; 
chief of the political section; manager of 
personnel; and head of administration. His final 
position in the Takhar police department before 
moving to the Kunduz RTC was head of the criminal 
investigation section. 

7. (SBU) Ewaz has had to endure a couple of short 
disruptions to his career as a police officer. 
When Najibullah was overthrown in 1992 and the 
mujahideen took over, Ewaz was jobless for a year 
until he could win the trust of the new government 
and get back into the Takhar police department. 

KABUL 00002862 003.2 OF 005 


Similarly, Ewaz found himself out of work when the 
Taliban briefly took control of Taloqan from the 
mujahideen in the late 1990's. When asked whether 
he had ever taken up arms against the Soviets or the 
Taliban, Ewaz protested that he could never have 
been a jihadist because he was an educated man. 

8. (SBU) Ewaz had only been in his job for a week 
when he met PRToff, but already by that time, he had 
begun to end some of the more notorious corrupt 
practices of the Baghlan police. Ewaz noted, for 
example, that he had order police to stop collecting 
bribes at the three entrances into Puli Khumri. He 
admitted that this action had not been popular with 
police soldiers, who had been receiving a cut of the 
proceeds to augment their paltry salaries, but said 
it was necessary to win the trust and confidence of 
the local population. 

SAYED AHMAD SAMEH: NEW CHIEF IN KUNDUZ 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 
----------------- 

9. (SBU) Sayed Ahmad Sameh, 50, was born and raised 
in Samangan province. He studied electrical 
engineering at Kabul Polytechnic University for two 
years in the early 1980's, but had to give up his 
studies early and return to Samangan in order to 
work to support his family. He spent three years as 
teacher and clerk before first becoming a police 
soldier and then a year later, a police officer in 
Samangan. He worked in a variety of positions in 
the Samangan police department over the next 10 
years, eventually rising to chief of police. 

10. (SBU) Sameh, an ethnic Uzbek, spent the Taliban 
period in Uzbekistan, but returned in late 2001 when 
the Northern Alliance liberated Samangan, and at the 
request of the provincial elders, re-assumed his 
position as chief of police. He was transferred to 
Sar-e-Pol in 2003, but he only stayed there only six 
months before returning to be the chief of police in 
Samangan. Sameh blamed his short tenure in Sar-e- 
Pol on the difficult security environment engendered 
by the lack of progress on Demobilization, 
Disarmament and Reintegration (DDR) of former 
military members. Sameh was replaced as chief of 
police in Samangan in 2004 while he was in India 
receiving medical treatment for a heart ailment. He 
was essentially jobless from then until his 
appointment as the new chief of police for Kunduz. 
Sameh was not a jihadist, and while he knows General 
Dostum (and vice versa), he claims that the two are 
not political associates. 

11. (SBU) Like Ewaz, Sameh has already moved to cut 
down on police corruption in the Kunduz police 
department, especially regarding the issuance of 
passports. Until now, a passport could take months 
to obtain unless one paid a $200 bribe. Sameh said 
he would like to fire some clearly unqualified and 
corrupt police officers, but has been told by MOI 
not to bother replacing anyone until after the next 
round of pay and rank reform is announced, which 

KABUL 00002862 004.2 OF 005 


should automatically remove many of these people. 

MUJTABA PATANG: NEW CHIEF IN TAKHAR 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 
---------- 

12. (SBU) Mujtaba Patang, 42, calls Logar home, but 
he was born and raised in Kabul, where his father 
worked as civil servant in the Ministry of Commerce. 
Patang, an ethnic Pashtun, got an early start on his 
law enforcement career, graduating from the police 
academy in Kabul when he was only 18 (the youngest 
in his year group). He worked several years in 
Mazar-e-Sharif, eventually rising to become a police 
battalion commander, before he was assigned to Kabul 
and the Ministry of Interior (MOI), where he has 
spent the bulk of his career. His assignments at 
MOI have included stints as commander of a 1,200-man 
police brigade and head of police training. Most 
recently, he was the director of liaison relations 
with Coalition and ISAF PRTs, responsible for 
supervising embedded MOI reps throughout the 
country. He was also a part-time professor at the 
police academy in Kabul, teaching two or three hours 
per day. 

13. (SBU) After the fall of Najibullah and the 
takeover by the mujahideen, Patang had to accept a 
lower rank than before, but he was able to continue 
working as a police officer. However, during three 
years of the Taliban period, he did not have a 
position. Like Ewaz and Sameh, he never fought as a 
jihadist. 

14. (SBU) In his first 10 days in office as police 
chief in Takhar, Patang has replaced key officers in 
the criminal investigation section, which is the 
most prone to bribery, and has asked local 
dignitaries from around the province to report to 
him any district police chiefs who are corrupt 
and/or engaged in illegal activities. He has moved 
to improve service to the public by extending the 
opening hours of the police HQ (before it was open 
only in the mornings) and by carrying out night 
police patrols throughout Taloqan and the 
surrounding area. He has set up complaint boxes 
around the city and says that he will open the boxes 
and read the complaints himself. 

FLAWED POLICE REFORM 
-------------------- 

15. (SBU) While all three police chiefs see their 
own appointments as evidence that police reform is 
progressing (I did not pay anyone to get this 
position, Ewaz said proudly), they are nonetheless 
critical of the list of 86 police generals approved 
by Karzai. Sameh estimated that about 35 percent 
of the officers on the list did not deserve their 
appointments. Patang agreed that the number of 
unqualified officers on the list was far higher than 
the 13 highlighted by some in the international 
community. An ethnic Pashtun, Patang complained 
that he had scored high enough on his police exam to 

KABUL 00002862 005.2 OF 005 


be a three-star general, but had been bumped down to 
a one-star position because of a perceived need to 
maintain ethnic balance and to keep certain former 
mujahideen commanders in place, notwithstanding 
their lack of qualifications. He said that the 
general officer selections should have been based 
solely on merit, without any consideration of 
ethnicity. (Embassy comment: Although the 
Selection Board process for senior police officers 
has in fact been transparent and merit-based (with 
the exception of the 13 mentioned above), Ewaz's 
skepticism reflects a broad public distrust of the 
central government's announced plans for civil 
service reform. It also plays into an abiding 
suspicion of ethnic bias, something that is deeply 
felt by members of all major ethnic communities. 
End embassy comment.) 

16. (SBU) Patang was clearly disappointed to have 
landed the Takhar job, which he viewed as a demotion 
after his last position in the MOI, where he 
supervised 16 other general officers. He was hoping 
to be assigned as the chief of the border guards (a 
three-star position), the chief of the education 
section at MOI (a two-star position) or as the chief 
of police in Mazar-e-Sharif (a province he already 
knows well from his early career). The day before 
the official announcement, Patang said he was told 
he would be the chief of police in Kunduz, but for 
some still-mysterious reason, his assignment was 
changed overnight to Takhar. 

COMMENT: CAUTIOUS HOPES 
----------------------- 

17. (SBU) There are great hopes that these three 
new chiefs of police, who are bringing a wealth of 
education and experience to their positions, will 
prove far more competent and less corrupt than the 
old guard they are replacing. But the question 
remains whether these new chiefs, who are unfamiliar 
with the provinces to which they have been assigned, 
will have the power and local support necessary to 
be effective. There is also a concern that given 
their low salaries, the pervasive culture of 
corruption, and pressure from local warlords, it may 
only be a matter of time before they fall to the 
same temptations as their predecessors. The 
international community needs to actively support 
them so that they can be a force for fundamental 
change in their respective provinces. 


NEUMANN