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Viewing cable 09KABUL2346, AFGHANS TO CONTINUE POPPY ERADICATION

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09KABUL2346 2009-08-13 15:03 2011-01-28 16:04 SECRET Embassy Kabul
VZCZCXYZ0014
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBUL #2346 2251550
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 131550Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0809
220697
2009-08-13
09KABUL2346
Embassy Kabul
SECRET

S E C R E T KABUL 002346 

SIPDIS 

DEPARTMENT FOR SRAP, SCA/A, INL, EUR/PRM, INR, OSD FOR 
FLOURNOY, CENTCOM FOR CG CJTF-82, POAD, JICENT KABUL FOR 
COS USFOR-A 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/03/2019 
TAGS: SNAR PREL AF
SUBJECT: AFGHANS TO CONTINUE POPPY ERADICATION 

Classified By: DEPUTY AMBASSADOR FRANCIS J. RICCIARDONE FOR REASONS 1.4 
(B) AND (D) 

1. (S) SUMMARY: Minister of Interior (MOI) Hanif Atmar 
appealed to the U.S. not to completely reverse our public 
opposition to poppy cultivation. He feared that doing so 
would send the wrong message to farmers across 
Afghanistan, and lead to a surge in poppy cultivation. Atmar 
charged that the U.S. was going from one extreme to 
another in our policy and charged that we were doing so 
without consultations with us, your friends who are most 
directly affected by what you say. He said it is important 
to keep eradication as one element of an overall narcotics 
policy. The primary element, he believes, would be the 
creation of an intelligence-led counternarcotics police 
force. Informed that the U.S. had ended funding for the 
Poppy Eradication Force (PEF), Atmar said the GIRoA 
nonetheless must find the resources to continue to use PEF 
for some level of eradication. MOI also would use PEF as a 
special force to go after narcotics kingpins, and for other 
special purposes, for example, to offset the shortfalls on 
elections security and convoy security. END SUMMARY 

2. (S) In a meeting with Deputy Ambassador Ricciardone on 
other subjects on August 2nd, Atmar said that President 
Karzai was caught off guard by the recent announcement by 
Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP), 
Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, that the U.S. will no longer 
support poppy eradication. President Karzai doesn,t know 
how to deal with this, Atmar said. We,d like to advise 
you not to move from one extreme to another. Please don,t 
make this move so quickly and, when you are announcing policy 
positions that affect us, your friends, so directly, we 
expect that you will consult with us in advance. Atmar 
specifically asked that we report these concerns to 
Washington. 

3. (S) Ricciardone reminded Atmar that while we were 
ending our funding for the PEF, we had stated publically that 
we have no objection to any GIRoA eradication programs it may 
wish to continue. We were simply re-directing our 
counternarcotics support to more effective purposes, i.e. 
interdiction of the processing and trade in opium and heroin. 
Atmar agreed that it is important to focus on going after the 
major narco-traffickers, and requested support to create an 
intelligence-led counternarcotics police force. He stressed 
that intelligence exploitation and intelligence sharing with 
the Afghans are critical tools in forming an effective 
anti-narcotics strategy. But, he emphasized that eradication 
efforts are also an important symbol of Afghanistan,s 
overall anti-narcotics policy and laws that the U.S. should 
not dismiss. This country must have a credible eradication 
force to enforce the law, Atmar said. He plans to raise 
this issue during SRAP,s next trip to Afghanistan. We 
welcome focused discussions on this new policy, Atmar said. 
Meanwhile, he urged, Please say nothing that will give our 
farmers the idea that the pressure is off, or that the U.S. 
does not care about poppy cultivation, otherwise we will see 
an explosion in production, and we do not want that. 

4. (S) Atmar was passionate about counternarcotics 
programs, reminding us that he has worked this issue for the 
last 15 years. He said that in order to succeed, Afghanistan 
needs technical capacity - with an emphasis on standing up an 
intelligence-led counternarcotics police force, mentors, and 
operational funds. He urged that training Afghans to support 
all levels of counternarcotics, especially in intelligence 
collection and analysis, would be significantly cheaper for 
the U.S. than hiring contractors to do this work. 

5. (S) We advised Atmar that he could re-direct the 600 
member U.S.-trained and equipped PEF to more useful immediate 
purposes. Nonetheless, Atmar insisted that he would continue 
to use PEF for eradication. He would also expand PEF into a 
special force designed to pursue major narco-traffickers. In 
order to fill immediate needs, with the poppy harvest now 
over, Atmar said he would use the PEF to provide security for 
elections and for ISF fuel convoys. 
EIKENBERRY