Keep Us Strong WikiLeaks logo

Currently released so far... 4489 / 251,287

Articles

Browse latest releases

Browse by creation date

Browse by origin

A B C D F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z

Browse by tag

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
QA
YI YM YE

Browse by classification

Community resources

courage is contagious

Viewing cable 06KABUL3719, PAG MAKES FIRST RECOMMENDATIONS TO PRESIDENT KARZAI

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Understanding cables
Every cable message consists of three parts:
  • The top box shows each cables unique reference number, when and by whom it originally was sent, and what its initial classification was.
  • The middle box contains the header information that is associated with the cable. It includes information about the receiver(s) as well as a general subject.
  • The bottom box presents the body of the cable. The opening can contain a more specific subject, references to other cables (browse by origin to find them) or additional comment. This is followed by the main contents of the cable: a summary, a collection of specific topics and a comment section.
To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.

Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol). Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #06KABUL3719.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KABUL3719 2006-08-21 10:10 2011-01-23 19:07 SECRET Embassy Kabul
VZCZCXRO5681
OO RUEHDBU
DE RUEHBUL #3719/01 2331018
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 211018Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2019
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/JICCENT MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCCENT MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 2761
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 2909
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 6239
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA PRIORITY 1588
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 06 KABUL 003719 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

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

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/20/2016 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER ASEC MARR AF
SUBJECT: PAG MAKES FIRST RECOMMENDATIONS TO PRESIDENT KARZAI 

REF: A. KABUL 3566 

B. KABUL 3304 
C. KABUL 3088 

Classified By: Ambassador Ronald Neumann for reasons 1.4 (B) and (D). 

1. (S) Summary: The security situation in the south remains 
fragile, with an increasingly determined enemy operating 
freely in key areas according to a joint CFC, ISAF, GOA brief 
to President Karzai in a Policy Action Group (PAG) meeting on 
August 16. Wardak said that the enemy is succeeding in 
propaganda efforts that have convinced locals the GOA and 
ISAF are losing their will to fight. It was acknowledged 
that Operation Mountain Thrust had eliminated many 
insurgents, but these are primarily low-level recruits. 
Enemy strength is estimated at 7,000, vice a presence of 
9,000 ISAF and 4,300 ANSF in the south. To address this 
situation, the PAG approved ISAF's basic Afghan Development 
Zone (ADZ) concept combining ISAF and ANSF security with new 
development projects. 

2. (S) The ADZ concept remains vague and will take time to 
launch depending on how long it will take to achieve a level 
of security sufficient for development projects to be 
executed in the provinces, and on how long it will take 
development money to flow. ISAF predicts development 
activity will begin in late August in Qalat, late September 
in Helmand and Uruzgan, and October in Kandahar. ISAF has 
committed to keeping key district centers secure even though 
they are outside the zones, and has promised to take the 
initiative in offensives against insurgent positions outside 
the zones. ISAF's concept depends on donors rapidly 
completing new development projects, but there is 
considerable skepticism about delivery before early 2007. 
Ambassador Neumann proposed that the GOA contribute 
unallocated funds in tandem with donors to show its resolve. 
The GOA responded by asking for a loosening of international 
procurement restrictions. President Karzai instructed that 
no one talk publicly about ADZ's either in Afghanistan or 
foreign capitals for now. 

3. (S) All agreed that &auxiliary8 police forces could be 
used if clearly within the MOI chain of command. There is no 
donor commitment to fund the equipping of such forces. 
Karzai stated that the first priority must go to funding the 
training and equipping of the regular forces. More study of 
&auxiliary8 forces is ongoing. President Karzai said he 
would find the money himself within the GOA if necessary. 
End Summary. 

Worrisome Security Assessment in South 
-------------------------------------- 

4. (S) At the first PAG presentation to President Karzai, on 
August 16, Minister of Defense Wardak presented a blunt 
security assessment developed by the Policy Action Group's 
(PAG's) Security Operations Group (full text of report 
follows at end of cable). (Note: The text was coordinated 
among MOD, MOI, NDS, ISAF, CFC-A, CSTC-A, relevant Embassies, 
and the four southern governors. End note.) The security 
situation in the south remains fragile. Operation Mountain 
Thrust inflicted significant losses on insurgents, but 
primarily against low-level, easily replaced recruits. The 
Taliban campaign in outlying areas has convinced significant 
portions of the local population the GOA cannot deliver 
governance and that ISAF and international resolve are 
withering. 

5. (S) The tempo of enemy operations has fallen since 

KABUL 00003719 002 OF 006 


mid-July with the exception of Kandahar, but ISAF and ANSF 
forces remain under attack, inhibiting efforts to improve 
governance and start new development activities. The 
analysis estimated that up to 7,000 Taliban fighters are 
active in the South. (Note: the number of hard-core Taliban 
is probably lower. End Note.) The quality and quantity of 
IED attacks has risen. The Taliban are becoming increasingly 
willing to defend key terrain with large sophisticated, 
well-armed groups of fighters. The Taliban have developed 
significant positions in Kandahar Province's Panjway, Zherai 
and Arghandab districts, as well as Northern and Southern 
Helmand Province. (Note: not all anti-government activity in 
the area is associated with the Taliban. Some is related to 
crime, drugs and warlords. End Note.) 

6. (S) Wardak concluded that our aim must be to prevent the 
Taliban from achieving their objectives. He called for ISAF 
and the GOA to take the initiative, warning that weak 
maneuverability prevents ISAF and the ANSF from attacking 
enemy positions. COMISAF, LTG Richards, noted that, 
although bleak, this report was the combined opinion of 
experts, with no doubt as to its accuracy. He said ISAF had 
been looking for a plan to take back the initiative, and that 
the Afghan Development Zone concept was their solution. 

ADZ Concept 
----------- 

7. (S) ISAF's Afghan Development Zone (ADZ) concept (see 
reftels) is designed to address several key challenges in 
bringing security and development to the South: the people 
feel disenfranchised; there is a dissatisfaction with 
governance and the pace of development; the Taliban are 
exploiting this frustration by convincing the public the GOA 
and International Community (IC) cannot deliver; and, limited 
military, police and development resources preclude doing 
everything required everywhere at once. ISAF and the GOA are 
therefore prioritizing their actions in certain geographical 
areas of the south that have key populations, economic 
development and necessary infrastructure. (Note: regular 
assessment of these priorities will continue for months. End 
Note.) 

8. (S) The ADZ solution attempts to unify security and 
development efforts from the GOA and IC to provide a robust 
level of security in key areas of the south and allow for 
rapid roll-out of new reconstruction and development 
projects. ISAF and ANSF forces will provide a security 
shield based in the priority regional centers and support 
maneuver teams patrolling outlying areas. The zones are not 
static and should expand to encompass ever widening 
territories. 

9. (S) The ADZ concept was approved in principle by Karzai 
and the international community at the PAG meeting. Many 
issues and problems remain and whether ADZs will be different 
from current operations is not clear. (Note: The 
Coalition's Mountain series of operations successively 
focuses on certain geographical areas with kinetic and 
non-kinetic means, in a not-too dissimilar way as is proposed 
by the ADZ concept. End Note.) ISAF must take on further 
offensive operations before launching any ADZs. General 
Richards predicted the ADZ in Qalat could be functional by 
late August, Helmand and Uruzgan the second or third week of 
September, and Kandahar would probably take until October due 
to the problem of needing to clear insurgents out of Panjway 
district. In a smaller meeting the evening before, August 
15, Karzai stressed to ISAF LTG Richards that our first 
objective should be to retake all of Helmand. In Kandahar 

KABUL 00003719 003 OF 006 


province, we should also retake the district of Panjway, he 
said, hinting darkly that other factors besides the Taliban 
may be at work there. He said districts that were in our 
hands must be won back. 

10. (S) At the PAG, Karzai insisted that no one talk about 
ADZs publicly; the IC strongly agreed. (Note: it is equally 
important ADZs are not discussed publicly in Washington.) 
Discussion of this idea is fraught with problems. Karzai was 
worried that people might perceive the creation of the zones 
as a sign government control was shrinking, reminding them of 
the Soviet strategy of hunkering down in key cities and 
towns, and retreating. There was also concern that those 
outside the zones might feel vulnerable. Defining the zones 
may lead to attacks before security is in place. Richards 
promised that ISAF would not abandon any key regional centers 
when the zones were established. He stressed that ADZs are 
not a defensive concept, and that ISAF will carry on 
offensive operations to drive the Taliban out of their 
strongholds. 

11. (S) The development portion of the ADZ concept is 
predicated on drawing additional funds that can be delivered 
immediately following the necessary security &clean up8 in 
certain areas. It is not now clear how much will be 
available; most will be implementation of previously planned 
work by the Coalition and NGOs. Ambassador Neumann asked 
that the GOA also move money from programs where funds have 
not been spent to show GOA support and buy-in. Minister of 
Finance Ahady said money was available, but procurement rules 
required by donors prevented its quick usage. President 
Karzai asked that the donor community lessen strictures for 
the use of funds transferred to the GOA. He also requested 
that more funds go to Afghan contractors and companies for 
smaller projects. 

12. (S) Comment: The GOA recognizes they need to win both on 
the ground and in people's minds. The creation of the PAG 
was the GOA's first effort to come towards a solution. The 
ADZ concept remains vague. The GOA, ISAF and the rest of the 
international community have signed on for now. ISAF has 
promised to not only beef up security within the zones, but 
hold on to key villages and launch offensive strikes. The 
Brits, Dutch, Canadians and Australians argue that they can 
provide the security and roll out new projects to bring 
governance and development throughout the south. We will 
support as we can. Problems remain, and the details are not 
fully developed. Doubts linger about tangible development 
results from ISAF being possible quickly. Criticism of the 
zones, and the projects that will be planned for their 
clearly defined areas, is likely to hearken back to the 
Soviets barricading down. For these reasons neither the GOA 
nor the international community will announce or discuss the 
project, allowing any results to speak for themselves. (It 
is important that ADZs not be discussed publicly in 
Washington either.) End Comment. 


Police 
------ 

13. (S) It was agreed that police rebalancing may not move 
fast enough to solve the short-term problem of providing 
sufficient police forces at the local level where they are 
needed now. In a private briefing that included Ambassador 
Neumann and President Karzai the evening before (August 15), 
Intelligence Chief designate Amerullah Saleh stressed that 
the GOA is losing Pashtun manpower in Afghan security forces. 
He said it must either become more active in recruiting 

KABUL 00003719 004 OF 006 


locally into National forces or make far more use of the 
tribes. He pointed out that police brought from outside the 
area - specifically from Kunduz - have all deserted. He said 
that rebalancing the police is simply not working and not 
producing the forces needed in time. The weakness of the 
police forces is also reducing intelligence gathering 
ability. Saleh said the GOA was losing access to 
intelligence because police from outside are deserting and 
police from inside are no longer in contact with local 
villagers so they are getting less information. 

14. (S) At the PAG meeting, President Karzai opened the 
discussion of police forces by expressing strong displeasure 
at reports from Ghazni that indicate 1042 police are on the 
payroll, while far fewer actually exist. He was certain 
fraud exists throughout the country. Karzai decided ANP 
priorities are to determine actual numbers of police, then 
recruit to the ceiling and then see if additional numbers of 
regular police are needed. However, he clearly wants to move 
forward on auxiliaries so there is not a clear &do all the 
police first8 prioritization. 

15. (S) Minister of Interior Zarar outlined a GOA plan to 
recruit &auxiliary8 police in border regions and areas of 
high security threats. (Note: The proper nomenclature for 
these forces is a work in progress. End note.) The first 
group would be trained and given a one-year contract. The 
requirements for hiring will be similar to the ANP, with 
background checks, and following the same procedures. They 
would be under the command of the local police chiefs, and 
would receive one month of training in police procedures. 
(Comment: Zarar did not say that the GOA would want to use 
the Police Regional Training Centers for this purpose but it 
probably will. End comment.) The &auxiliaries8 would also 
require equipment: weapons, communications and 
transportation. Zarar explained the MOI does not have the 
needed equipment and would need IC help. 

16. (S) International representatives accepted 
&auxiliaries8 could be used if clearly within the MOI chain 
of command. Details and numbers need to be worked out. The 
IC has no commitment to pay or equip. 

17. (S) President Karzai jumped in, saying that, &finally, 
today everyone speaks my mind and what I've been saying for a 
year and a half. We need to re-empower traditional and 
trusted forms of authority.8 (At the previous night's 
meeting, Karzai had enthusiastically, if gloomily, spoke 
about how we are losing the population. He intimated that 
much of the trouble has come from premature removal of key 
tribal figures (while he did not say so, this seemed to refer 
to the former Governors of Uruzgan and Helmand). Karzai said 
we have systematically disempowered the locals. They are 
hostile to us as a result, and therefore we must go back to 
more local government. 

18. (S) The internationals backed a U.S. suggestion that the 
auxiliary police be paid and controlled directly by the MOI 
rather than governors. Ambassador Neumann urged a more 
detailed plan - who, where and how many. Karzai responded 
that we should have started this program a year ago, and that 
the IC should help with auxiliary police and strengthening 
communities, but if not he would find the money somehow. 

19. (S) Comment: The issue of police numbers is more 
challenging, with the GOA planning to move ahead with an 
&auxiliary8 police program, but asking for international 
support in money and equipment. The GOA still doesn't have a 
concrete plan, and though we support the idea, neither we nor 

KABUL 00003719 005 OF 006 


anyone else in the international community has committed to 
fund it. End Comment. 


Southern Afghanistan Security Assessment (Full Text) 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 

(S) Begin Text: 

This assessment has been produced by the Security Operations 
Group and reflects the combined views of the Ministries, 
organizations and Embassies represented. It has also been 
shown to members of the Implementation and Coordination Team 
and their comments incorporated. 

The situation in the south remains very fragile. Operation 
Mountain Thrust inflicted significant losses on the 
insurgents, especially in Uruzgan and Northern Helmand, but 
most are assessed to have been among their lower-level, 
short-term or peripheral fighters, who are easily 
replaceable. 

We assess that the Taliban campaign to drive Government 
elements from outlying areas, convince the people that the 
Government cannot deliver and undermine the resolve of ISAF 
and the international community will continue. Some fighting 
is motivated by tribal or criminal factors and not directly 
related to the Taliban insurgency, and instability is 
exacerbated by the negative influence of former Governors and 
Police Chiefs, especially in Helmand and Uruzgan. 

Except in Kandahar, the past month has seen a reduction in 
the tempo of enemy operations compared with mid-July. 
However, ISAF and ANSF units remain under threat of attack in 
large parts of the region, making it extremely difficult to 
deliver effective governance and development. The threat 
from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) continues to 
increase in both quality and quantity. 

Recent engagements show that we are facing an increasingly 
determined and sophisticated enemy prepared to defend key 
terrain in large groups (100-plus fighters) in developed 
defensive positions and to use these as a base for ambushes 
against key lines of communication. There are reliable 
reports of a significant Taliban build-up in the Panjway, 
Zherai and Helmand, and that planning has been conducted for 
an offensive. 

Taliban operations in the vicinity of the Highway 1 corridor, 
particularly near Kandahar City, Lashkar Gah and Qalat, are 
judged to pose the greatest risk to security in the near term. 

Zabol: The Romanian Task Force completed its relieve in 
place with Task Force Warrior. The largest engagement since 
they arrived took place on 8 August in south-eastern Qalat, 
and there are indications of increasing insurgent activity in 
the province. The Governor's key concerns are highway 
security and the district of Seorai. 

Uruzgan: Dutch Task Force continued its deployment and 
conducted security patrols around Tarin Kowt and Dehrawud. 
They intend to facilitate a major shura to reinforce the 
Governor's authority. The districts of Charchina (Shahidi 
Hassas) and Gizab are particular areas of security concern, 
largely outside the control of government authorities. 

Helmand: Major operation conducted to relieve and reinforce 
Musa Qaleh district center. Northern and Southern parts of 
the province remain of concern due to high levels of 

KABUL 00003719 006 OF 006 


insurgent activity. Significant UK forces remain fixed 
defending static locations in the north of the province. 

Kandahar: Heavy fighting in Panjway and Zherai districts, 
which remain a key Taliban focus. Taliban have established 
strong defensive positions and fought with determination. 
Continued enemy activity in the Arghandab district is likely 
in order to maintain their line of communication to Uruzgan. 

ENEMY FORCES/FRIENDLY FORCES 

Though hard to assess accurately, there are estimated to be 
up to 7,000 active Taliban fighters across the south. This 
compares with 4,300 ANA, over 7,000 ANP (on paper; in 
practice far fewer present for duty and effective) and about 
9,000 ISAF personnel in Regional Command South. 

Lack of capacity, including protected mobility and firepower, 
hinders ANSF ability to conduct offensive operations against 
the enemy. Corruption, poor leadership and misuse of police 
resources remain widespread. Work continues to address these 
issues and to improve the sometimes poor co-ordination 
between provincial authorities, ANSF and ISAF. 

In the weeks following transfer of authority, ISAF will 
continue to demonstrate to local officials and the people its 
will and ability to conduct robust and effective security 
operations across the region. Current and forthcoming ISAF 
operations to relieve units in place (ongoing for Canadian, 
Romanian and Dutch Forces, September for UK Forces) will have 
a short-term impact on their combat capability. 

CONCLUSION 

Our aim must be to prevent the Taliban achieving their 
objectives in any forthcoming offensive while positioning 
ourselves to take the initiative and provide effective 
security in support of development and governance. The 
current lack of maneuver capability hinders ISAF and ANSF 
ability to threaten the enemy in their strongholds. 

We need to wrest the initiative from the enemy. I believe 
the Development Zone Concept, which the Security Operations 
Group and the other inter-Agency Groups have helped to 
develop, has the potential to play an important role in 
helping us do so. I will now give the floor to LTG Richards 
to describe the status of his work. 

End Text. 
NEUMANN