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Viewing cable 10KABUL672, ELECTIONS, KANDAHAR AND KARZAI

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10KABUL672 2010-02-23 13:01 2011-01-23 19:07 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kabul
VZCZCXRO0895
OO RUEHDBU RUEHPW RUEHSL
DE RUEHBUL #0672/01 0541305
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 231305Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5817
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 KABUL 000672 

SIPDIS 

DEPARTMENT FOR SRAP, SCA/FO, SCA/A, EUR/RPM, INR/B 
STATE PASS USAID FOR ASIA/SCAA 
USFOR-A FOR POLAD 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/23/2020 
TAGS: PGOV KDEM KCOR PREL MOPS CAN AF PK
SUBJECT: ELECTIONS, KANDAHAR AND KARZAI 

Classified By: Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry for Reasons 1.4(b) and (d) 

1. (C) Begin Summary. In a frank discussion, Canadian 
Ambassador Crosbie explained to Ambassador Eikenberry that 
getting the electoral process right is a bottom-line position 
for Canada, and said we must be prepared for confrontation 
with Karzai on this issue, or risk losing credibility among 
our own population if we go along with a rigged election. 
While accepting the need to seek electoral reform Ambassador 
Eikenberry cautioned that despite private statements, Afghans 
will not support a dominant international role, and that if 
we dig ourselves deeper into Afghan politics, we'll entrench 
ourselves deeper into the country with fewer options. They 
also agreed that it would make sense to restructure the 
reporting relationship of the Kandahar PRT to have it report 
directly to Regional Command-South rather than the 
Canadian-led Task Force Kandahar to ensure coherence and 
integration of all civilians in Kandahar. They agreed that 
the jury is still out on whether current coalition efforts in 
the South will work, but if Karzai becomes more confident and 
the government has the space to focus on sustainable national 
governance, there will be progress. End Summary. 

Electoral Reform 
---------------- 

2. (C) Ambassador Eikenberry and Canadian Ambassador Bill 
Crosbie shared a frank exchange of views during a breakfast 
meeting at the U.S. Embassy on February 20. Ambassador 
Crosbie said that Canada is very concerned about the 
electoral reform process. He said they had not seen the copy 
of the final decree submitted to the Parliament on electoral 
reforms. Ambassador Eikenberry explained the key issues: 
conflicting Constitutional process issues (no action allowed 
the year of an election but requirement to act on emergency 
decrees within 30 days); the lack of a specific mention of an 
ISAF or coalition role in the vetting process; and the 
proposed formula of two of five ECC members being 
internationals appointed by UNAMA (either South African 
judge, Bangladeshi expert or Palestinian expert are the 
likely choices). 

3. (C) Ambassador Crosbie told the Ambassador that getting 
this right is a bottom line issue for the Canadians. He was 
emotional, saying the issue makes my blood boil, as he 
described the Canadian view that the international community 
must stand up for the silent majority or be blamed for 
letting Karzai and his family establish across the country 
the system of patronage and control that exists in Kandahar. 
We must be prepared for confrontation with Karzai on this 
issue, he said, or risk losing credibility among our own 
population if we go along with a rigged election. He argued 
that a new generation of Afghans is working to run for 
Parliament and they are watching to see if the electoral 
changes will happen. We can't be seen to collude with it, 
he said. He argued that we need to give the Afghans looking 
to make a difference space to speak out and be able to turn 
the course of their country. 

4. (C) Ambassador Eikenberry questioned Canada's assessment, 
noting that Afghans will not stand up publicly to support a 
dominant international role in their election process, 
regardless of what might be said privately. The reality, he 
said, is that leaders like Abdullah and Mirwais Yasini are 
not interested in reform but rather their own political 
interests and alliances in Parliament. He cautioned that if 
we dig ourselves deeper into Afghan politics, we'll entrench 
ourselves deeper into the country with fewer options. We 
need to focus on what is good enough while still supporting 
key institutions. 

5. (C) Crosbie conceded these points, but said we cannot go 
backwards in terms of the last election. Ambassador 
Eikenberry agreed, noting that having less 
Coalition/international ownership of the election is also a 
measure of progress. We need to focus, he said, on strategic 
options rather than being mired in Afghan politics. For 
example, increasing the competence and level of the ANA and 
ANP are clear priorities, and we must avoid losing the coming 
spring and summer mired in election reform issues. 
Ambassador Crosbie did not dispute this, but said that for 
Canada a red-line has to be ensuring improvements over the 
last election. 

Kandahar 
-------- 

6. (C) Crosbie said we need to have a discussion in Kabul to 
complement work in Kandahar by the Canadians, the NATO ISAF 

KABUL 00000672 002 OF 003 


RC-South Commander, and the Senior Civilian Representative 
for the South. He said we need to get discussion organized 
for addressing power brokers (Note: A discussion was started 
during a meeting held at the Canadian Embassy two weeks ago 
attended by Ambassador Wayne, the UK, Netherlands, Australia, 
and the NATO ISAF IJC. End Note.). The strategy, he said, 
must address how we manage malign actors and improve the 
management of contracts. 

7. (C) They also discussed the proposals to realign the 
reporting structures of the Canadian-led PRT in Kandahar. 
Crosbie said that Canada is willing to be integrated into a 
new organization and won't stand on form. He agreed with the 
objective to bring coherence and integration of all civilians 
in Kandahar. While he has not talked yet to Ottawa about 
these issues, he believes that the following changes will be 
acceptable: 1) Canada will continue to lead the PRT, with the 
U.S. serving in the Deputy role (co-leads don't work, he 
said); 2) the PRT will report to RC-South as opposed to Task 
Force Kandahar; 3) civilians will report up the civilian 
chain, which they view at the RC-South level as the U.S. 
Senior Civilian Representative Frank Ruggiero -- he proposed 
dual-hatting Ruggiero to be both a U.S. and ISAF SCR; 4) the 
Representative of Canada in Kandahar (RoCK) and the PRT head 
should be me 
Ambassador to Argentina will be the next senior Canadian and 
will be based at the PRT; and 5) Canada will place more 
civilians at the PRT to enhance integration, but he 
understands that the U.S. will lead the effort in certain 
areas/districts where U.S. resources are focused. 

8. (C) Ambassador Eikenberry said he too was flexible on how 
to reorganize and believed that we have reasonable structures 
in the South and East. He also strongly endorsed the concept 
of RC-West and RC-North adopting the same model. While we're 
putting a lot of resources in the South and East, he said, 
the system needs to work regardless of whether there is an 
American flag. It's a mistake for NATO to see the Afghan 
issues only through the prism of the military; the SCR 
structures need to be enhanced. Ideally, the Spanish and 
Italians would create a regional SCR in the West, and the 
Scandinavians and Germans would create one in the North. He 
also encouraged Crosbie to consider placing Canadian 
civilians at Regional Platform-South. SCR Ruggiero would mix 
them into his staff, he said, which would ensure greater 
coordination. Crosbie promised to review this and thought it 
probably made sense. He also noted that additional Canadians 
will go to Kandahar in March to support the civ-mil planning 
activity underway for governance and development in the wake 
of the upcoming military operations in Kandahar. 

Strategy in the South and Impact on Overall Effort 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 

9. (C) Crosbie said that Canada is comfortable with the 
overall strategy in Kandahar, which envisions additional 
pressure and activity in Kandahar in April-May. He said the 
police mentoring by U.S. Army Military Police and Canadian 
police, who live and work with the ANP in their district 
police stations, has proved effective. This effort is 
contributing to the sense of Afghan authority expanding in 
the city, he said, although he noted that it is proving 
difficult in Dand district where there are continued IEDs and 
security issues. Still, there's a sense we're on the right 
path, he said. 

10. (C) Ambassador Eikenberry noted that the efforts in 
Helmand and the troop surge generally are intended to reverse 
the malaise and enhance the confidence of the Afghan leaders. 
He recounted a recent meeting with Abdullah Abdullah in 
which he described his perceptions of better security from a 
year ago. The operation in Helmand, Abdullah said, is not 
yet getting the national effects but it could when the ANA 
and ANP officers return to their homes and share accounts of 
their operations. Similarly, Abdullah said that the 
security in Kunduz is much better than six months ago. The 
jury is still out on whether current coalition efforts will 
work, but if Karzai becomes more confident and the government 
has the space to focus on sustainable national governance, 
there will be progress. A key problem, though, is the 
limited human capacity in most ministries and at the 
provincial and district level, Ambassador Eikenberry said. 
He noted the Embassy is working on a cable to better outline 
the limits of Afghan (and even U.S.) capacity to accomplish 
the strategies we have laid out. For example, the Minister 
of Agriculture is really only about one-two staff deep and he 
relies heavily on foreign advisors. 

11. (C) Crosbie agreed, citing the example of ANP literacy. 

KABUL 00000672 003 OF 003 


We're never going to make them literate but can make them 
literate enough. He cited two examples of progress: 1) in 
Kandahar, some police are starting to at least be able to 
read license plates when investigating cases; and 2) in a 
recent customs officer training, the officers at least 
acknowledged corruption exists and that it's wrong, which he 
said is not the case in many third world countries. Crosbie 
said that we'll win when the Afghans have confidence they can 
run this country, but we can't get too dug into supporting 
Karzai; it's critical we build support for others. Crosbie 
said he has a sinking feeling whether Karzai is actually in 
control, or whether it's his brothers and other advisers who 
are running him. 

12. (C) Ambassador Eikenberry agreed and said that while we 
support efforts to press him to be a more visible Commander 
and Chief and push him to get outside of the Palace, we need 
to avoid self-delusion that he is really stepping up to lead 
the country and embrace mutual strategic goals until he 
clearly does so of his own volition. As the meeting ended, 
Crosbie mentioned the former ANA senior command and former 
Kandahar Governor General Raufi (Note: He served as Governor 
from August 2008 - December 2008 before being sacked 
reportedly for taking on Karzai's half brother and Kandahar 
powerbroker Ahmed Wali Karzai (AWK)) and noted that he would 
be a good person to use in a position of interest. 
Ambassador Eikenberry said he knew him and agreed he could 
contribute in a positive way. 
RICCIARDONE