INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Prt/Qal-E Now: Ngos Views On Security And

Published: Mon 4 Dec 2006 07:26 AM
VZCZCXYZ0002
PP RUEHWEB
DE RUEHBUL #5665/01 3380726
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 040726Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4384
INFO RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 3368
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 3316
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
UNCLAS KABUL 005665
SIPDIS
SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
DEPT FOR SCA/FO, SCA/A, S/CR, S/CT
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR AID/ANE, AID/DCHA/DG
NSC FOR AHARRIMAN
OSD FOR KIMMITT
CENTCOM FOR CG CFC-A, CG CJTF-76, AND POLAD
RELEASABLE TO NATO/ISAF/AUS/NZ
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV SNAR AF
SUBJECT: PRT/QAL-E NOW: NGOS VIEWS ON SECURITY AND
GOVERNANCE
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Security in Badghis provincial capital of
Qal-e Now has always been considered good and to-date there
have been no insurgency related incidents there. While
attacks in Badghis are currently rare, the security situation
is tenuous in many districts. NGOs have limited or changed
their programs to protect their employees and are concerned
that this has limited their ability to reach the most at-risk
(predominantly Pashtun) segments of the province. Some NGOs
allege security forces and government officials are often
more a part of the problem than the solution. The provincial
capital is generally peaceful now, but poverty and lack of
effective governance make the districts ripe recruiting
grounds for insurgent groups and could lead to further
insecurity. The aid community looks to the PRT to improve
the ANP's capability. END SUMMARY.
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Provincial Capital Security "Manageable"
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2. (SBU) Security in the sleepy provincial capital of Qal-e
Now has always been considered good. Currently, both
civilian and military members of the PRT frequently walk to
meetings with as little as a two-man armed escort. The
military contingent continually evaluates the current threat
level and it has not increased its security protocols for
operations in the capital. On a recent visit to the
province, UNAMA's regional security officer stated that the
threat level in the capital was "manageable" and recommended
going forward with the planned UNAMA office opening in Qal-e
Now by the end of the year.
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ANP Struggling to Provide Security in Districts
--------------------------------------------- --
3. (SBU) While attacks in the capital city are currently
rare, night letters are becoming more common in many
districts. Although UNAMA will soon open an office in Qal-e
Now, there are no plans to base employees outside of the
city. Several aid workers opined that there are few attacks
in the districts because there are virtually no foreign
workers living outside the capital. The NGO and development
workers interviewed by PRToff agreed that security had
deteriorated in the districts. The ANP's and the National
Directorate of Security's (NDS) limited capacity outside of
Qal-e Now, especially in the districts of Murghab, Gormach
and Jarwan, contributes to the uneven security situation.
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Security Concerns Restrict NGOs
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4. (SBU) NGOs have reduced or changed their programs to
protect their employees and are concerned this has limited
their ability to reach the most at-risk (predominantly
Pashtun) segments of the province. World Vision will
continue to evaluate and fund projects in the districts, but
will rely on provincial ministries to staff and administer
programs outside of the capital. It has reportedly agreed to
remain in Qal-e Now in part due to a plan to create a
radio-based warden system in Qal-e Now. Each NGO would
purchase or receive a radio with a frequency monitored
24-hours-a-day by the PRT. The NGO community welcomed this
plan and believes it will provide much needed additional
security in the capital area.
5. (SBU) BRAC, an NGO from Bangladesh, runs the province's
medical network and has the widest exposure throughout the
province. The NGO administers 24 hospitals and clinics, many
of them inherited from other NGOs when they left the province
due to security reasons. On November 4, BRAC's director told
PRToff he had recalled all of his doctors in Gormach and
Murghab districts, and from one clinic in Jarwan district. A
few locally-trained nurses are responsible for medical care
in a large part of the province. (Note: All of BRAC's
doctors and nurse are Afghans, but the doctors are from other
provinces and are, therefore, viewed as outsiders by locals.
End Note.). The BRAC director said if things worsen he would
be forced to close more clinics, effectively eliminating the
province's health care system.
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NGOs Deride Governmental Corruption
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6. (SBU) Some NGOs allege that security forces and government
officials are often more a part of the problem than the
solution. Their reports assert that the recent attack
against the World Vision office in Murghab was ordered by
Murghab District Governor Aga Khan and the furniture taken
from World Vision's office was divided among his supporters.
Recently, two of the six district governors were removed on
corruption-related charges, but the aid community views such
actions with skepticism. For example, several aid workers
suggested that Aga Khan's decision to order the looting of a
World Vision office was not what got him into trouble;
rather, it was not giving the furniture he looted to the
"right people" that caused local officials to get involved.
7. (SBU) The local government regularly complains that the
Spanish Agency for International Development (AECI) often
awards contracts to companies from other provinces, pointing
out that keeping the contracts local would provide jobs to
locals. AECI Director Pablo Yuste maintains that local
officials push to keep the jobs local because they are less
able to extort money from companies not based in the
province. Recently, the provincial Head of Economy Abdul
Baez Surjabi approached Yuste regarding AECI's vehicle rental
arrangements. Surjabi came to the PRT alone and requested to
speak with the AECI director without the aid of a nearby
translator "to allow him to practice his English." He
suggested that if AECI canceled its current vehicle contract
and contracted with him, he could provide vehicles for less
and would return the surplus cash directly to AECI.
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COMMENT
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8. (SBU) Badghis is a relatively calm province, but it is
also one of the nation's poorest. The lack of security
limits NGOs from reaching the poorest (often Pashtun)
segments of the province. This creates a vicious cycle:
increased dissatisfaction with the government in the district
creates more unrest and worsens the security situation, which
increases dissatisfaction. In the past, increased insecurity
was attributed to rising ethnic tensions and general
criminality, but the increase in the appearance of night
letters purportedly posted by Taliban and the recent murder
of several district employees seems to indicate an up-tick in
anti-government and insurgency activity in the province. The
aid community is looking to the PRT to improve the ANP's
capacity. (Note: The recent arrival of U.S. police
training units was warmly welcomed and is viewed as a key
element in improving provincial security. END COMMENT.
NEUMANN
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