Cablegate: Land Mine Attacks, Hostile Contact in Southeast

Published: Mon 24 May 2004 07:38 AM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Land mine attacks, hostile contact in Southeast
Turkey continue
1.(U) This cable is from AMCON ADANA.
2.(SBU) Summary: Land mines have been featured in four
security incidents presumed linked to KHK/Kongra Gel
against Turkish Jandarma and Army forces since the
beginning of May in southeast Turkey. This continues a
trend seen since the first such attack this year on
March 8 in Batman province. The recent casualty toll
cannot be exactly determined, but is approximately 10-
12 dead and wounded total. End Summary.
3.(SBU) There were two command-detonated land mine or
land mine-like improvised explosive devices (IED) used
in attacks against Turkish Jandarma and Army forces
since the beginning of May. On the weekend of May 8-10,
credible press reports generally corroborated by local
contacts noted use of a probable remotely-detonated
land mine or IED in the vicinity of Lice, Diyarbakir
province, killing two Turkish security forces. Later,
on May 12, a Turkish armored vehicle was destroyed when
it encountered a land mine or IED in the road. Local
contacts say that it is not clear whether this attack
was command-detonated or surface pressure-activated.
4.(SBU) Meanwhile, in two recent security force
investigations, landmines or IED were discovered, one
in Sirnak province on or about May 1 and another
involving alleged discovery of four C-4 explosive IED's
in the road along the Pulumur-Tunceli highway. AMCON
ADANA cannot independently determine whether C-4 was
the actual explosive in the latter case.
5.(SBU) Who is initiating contact against whom
sometimes is harder to determine in these cases. Just
prior to the para. 2 Lice attack, there had been an
earlier skirmish between Jandarma and village guards
against KHK/Kongra Gel on May 5. Perhaps the Lice
mine/IED attack was a reprisal for, or continuation of,
that earlier contact. In April and May, there have
been larger scale, company- to battalion-sized Turkish
security force (Jandarma/Army/Village guard) initiated
efforts in Sirnak, Siirt and Bingol/Diyarbakir
provinces (along this provincial border in high, rugged
terrain). Nevertheless, many of the mine or mine-like
IED attacks seem to be at presumed KHK/Kongra Gel
initiative, as are the recent Siirt police station
6.(SBU) Local international community contacts in
several eastern provinces who travel frequently in Van,
Sirnak, Siirt and Hakkari provinces have told AMCON
ADANA that they are shifting away from use of any
vehicle which might be misconstrued as an official or
non-local vehicle, preferring to use rather worn-
appearing domestic vehicles for travel there. While
they consider many of these attacks which they too
consider to be remotely detonated mines or IED's, they
are not sure 90's era exclusive KHK/Kongra Gel focus on
Turkish security forces necessarily apply now. Hakkari
governorate official May 19-20 reference to an Iraqi-
source fatwa giving authority to "international Iranian
attackers from over the border" (Note: one of whom the
press reports the Hakkari governate has in custody. End
note.) to attack foreigners, Turkish government forces
and infrastructure have also clouded the possible
targeting picture, these contacts note.
7.(U) Baghdad minimize considered.
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