2005-12-17 03:17:00
Embassy Kabul
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 05 KABUL 005110 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/14/2015

REF: A) KABUL 04880 B) KABUL 04957

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 05 KABUL 005110



E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/14/2015

REF: A) KABUL 04880 B) KABUL 04957

1. (C) Summary: The Government of Afghanistan (GOA) sponsored
Poppy Elimination Program continues to move forward. The
Ministry of Counter Narcotics (MCN) is on-target to hire all
PEP personnel by early 2006. All seven PEP teams have Afghan
members and four international advisors (IA) have been hired.
Housing for the IAs is being worked out. The provincial PEP
teams are coming together and have begun working with local
officials and farmers to spread the message regarding
governor-led eradication. As the PEP program moves forward,
it is crucial that the Embassy be able to support the GOA's
efforts. In REF B, the Embassy asked for funding to carry out
PEP activities in 2006. This funding will provide necessary
support to governor-led eradication efforts. End Summary.

PEP Personnel

2. (C) Four PEP International Advisors (IA) have been hired.
One has been deployed to the Kandahar PEP office, the other
is in-country awaiting his assignment. Two additional PEP
advisors are scheduled to arrive December 26. Interviewing
for both Afghan and international PEP continues. The MCN is
on-target to have all Afghan PEP personnel hired, for all
seven PEP Provinces, in early 2006. Afghan teams have been
deployed to Nangarhar (Team Leader plus four members),
Kandahar (Team Leader plus three members and an International
Advisor),Farah (Team Leader plus three members),Balkh (Team
Leader plus two members),Helmand (Team Leader plus one
member),Badakshan (one member) and Uruzgan (one member).

Housing of International Advisors

3. (C) As originally proposed, IAs were supposed to be housed
at either the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) bases or
Regional Training Centers (RTC-police training centers run
via an INL CIVPOL contract). The ideal situation, from the
Embassy's perspective, was to have them reside at the PRTs so
that they could establish close working relationships with
the civilian and military PRT leadership, who have first-hand

knowledge on activities in their respective provinces.
However, some PRTs were concerned that housing the IAs on
their compounds could raise security issues. Embassy and
CFC-A agreed that the option of lodging at a Forward
Operating Base (FOB) when available is also acceptable but
PRTs will be used when essential.

4. (C) The military has approved the housing of IAs at the
following sites:

Nangarhar: Jalalabad Air Field (JAF)
Kandahar: Kandahar Air Field (KAF)
Helmand: FOB Price
Uruzgan: FOB Ripley

5. (C) In the interim, the IAs will be housed at the RTCs in
Nangarhar and Kandahar both of which are more convenient
(with a move to JAF planned for spring 2006 when the RTC
moves to a more distant location). One of the main advantages
of RTC housing is that third country national (TCN) security
staff can be housed in the same location as the IAs. FOB
Ripley is adequate for space and security, but the risks and
challenges associated with a difficult one hour's drive to
Lashkar Gah (the capital),are leading to review this
placement and consider other options. We expect to resolve
this issue by the end of December.

6. (C) The remaining three provinces, Balkh, Badakshan, and
Farah contain PRTs that are under International Security
Assistance Force (ISAF) control. The Afghanistan theater
supports housing of IAs at their PRTs and have requested
permission from its headquarters in Brunssum, Belgium to do
so. Unfortunately, they have indicated to us that this
request has been denied. ISAF Command Afghanistan told the
Head of the British Embassy Drugs Team that it expects
written confirmation of the denial in mid-December and they
will appeal to SAC EUR. According to ISAF Kabul, SAC EUR has
advised that they will overturn the Brunssum decision and
allow PRTs to be utilized to house IAs. Meanwhile, the German
government, through its Embassy, informed the US Embassy that
the IAs can be housed at the German PRT in Feyzabad,
Badakshan province (REF A). The ISAF PRT housing issue will
be reported SEPTEL, when resolved.

7. (C) Since there is an RTC in Mazar-e-Sharif, Balkh
Province, the IAs can be housed there. In the case of Farah,
the only options are the PRT or the provincial government
compound. The Embassy is pursuing the housing of IAs at the
PRT in Farah and has support from the PRT Commander.

Operational Challenges

8. (C) From the beginning, PEP teams, including the IAs, were
to have a broad mix of backgrounds and expertise: rural
development, public information, narcotics control, and
monitoring and verification. As implementer of the PEP
contract, DynCorp is charged with recruiting and hiring
fourteen International Advisors (IA),including non-Americans
(two per province). Initially DynCorp recruited a
preponderance of candidates with military backgrounds and no
public information or other relevant experience. In order to
align recruitment with program goals, INL Washington prepared
a more detailed job description and permitted DynCorp to
increase the salary range in order to recruit more senior
staff. DynCorp has also been asked to focus on recruiting and
hiring British and Canadian nationals for PEP posts in
Helmand and Kandahar (the UK will assume command of Helmand
PRT and the Canadians will assume command of Kandahar PRT in
Spring 2006).

9. (C) To date, INL has approved eleven resumes. Of those
eleven, two have been hired and are currently in-country and
two are expected to arrive in mid-December. The fifth
candidate has yet to decide while the six remaining either
declined or did not respond to DynCorp recruiting. On
December 12, the Embassy received three additional resumes of
applicants for IA positions. The Embassy is optimistic that
INL Washington and DynCorp have resolved the initial problems
and the process and timeliness of hiring IAs will improve.

10. (C) The establishment of the PEP teams and offices is far
behind the schedule agreed to in the initial Technical Cost
Proposal. Most of the deliverables in the PEP contract have
fallen behind schedule, the most basic of which required that
all PEP offices and teams be established by November 20. On
November 30, DynCorp officials (PEP Deputy Program Manager
Mike O'Donovan, Mark Hannak VP for Security Operations Middle
East/Africa and Roy Anderson PEP Engineer) met with PEP
Program Office to discuss the status of operational support
for PEP. Many of the items ordered for the PEP teams had not
arrived, including communications systems, office
furnishings, body armor and weapons. O'Donovan said even if
the staffing issue was resolved earlier, there is no way
DynCorp could have met the November 20 deadline. The Embassy
continues to work with DynCorp to coordinate operational
support for PEP.

Establishment PEP Offices

11. (C) DynCorp along with the PEP Program Manager and CNTF
Director have surveyed sites for office space in all seven
PEP provinces and have identified the following as possible

Badakshan- site survey conducted on December 11, DynCorp
reviewing options in Feyzabad for office space.

Balkh- The governor has offered the PEP team two rooms in his
compound building. DynCorp plans a site survey in
Farah- refurbishment of building adjacent to governor's office

Helmand- refurbishment of building adjacent to governor's

Kandahar- placement of connex trailers on governor's compound

Uruzgan- placement of connex trailers on governor's compound

Nangarhar- The Team Leader has negotiated with government
officials and is currently working out of the provincial
government building. The governor offered a building to the
PEP team on an adjacent compound but a site survey concluded
that the building needed too much work to be usable. The
alternate plan is to assemble connex trailers on the
provincial government compound.

PEP Team Activities

12. (C) PEP teams have been working and have been pro-active
and creative in their approach to engage with their
communities. Recent events include:

Badakshan- PEP team is planning a three day trip to Khashk
District in mid-December. The team has established a working
relationship with the Director of CN and has spoken with
elders and local officials about the program.

Nangarhar- Team Leader personally secured a room in the
Provincial Government Building. PEP team regularly meets with
the Governor and has held two working group meetings. The
team also met with elders of Acheen and Khogiani districts,
both high-cultivation areas. The Team Leader participated in
a CN round table discussion on Nangarhar television. The
monitoring/verification officer also traveled to Acheen,
Behsood, Bati Kot, Spin Ghar and Khogiani districts.

Kandahar- Team Leader held a working group meeting with the
relevant provincial government officials and NGOs and IOs in
November and made the following recommendations : 1) increase
level of media broadcasting regarding anti-cultivation,
highlighting Alternative Livelihoods (AL) programs; 2)
improve coordination of anti-narcotics activities; and 3)
improve security, so that people wont feel as though they are
forced to grow poppy. The Team Leader met with the Governor
who said he would be eradicating poppy fields in Maiwand
Province before the end of the year.

Helmand- Interim PEP Team Leader organized a November 26
meeting, which was attended by 100 provincial and district
officials, a senior mullah, a National Assembly member and
various tribal elders. The meeting served as an introduction
to PEP, as well as an opportunity for officials to reiterate
familiar and important themes concerning the need and desire
of the government to eliminate poppy. The meeting concluded
with all parties signing an anti-opium pledge. The Governor
followed up this meeting with a November 28 meeting with
district chiefs and police chiefs to discuss the poppy
problem, warning them that they had one week to combat poppy
planting or they would face dismissal or arrest.

Farah- PEP team conducted two working groups in November and
have prepared a short-term work plan for their activities.

Balkh- Team Leader held meetings with Deputy Governor and
Chief of Police. Balkh Police forces have arrested 21 farmers
for planting poppy; news of these arrests were broadcast on
radio and televison. The arrested were later released after
Elders from their villages promised provincial authorities
that they would eradicate the fields that have been planted.

Uruzgan- At a November 28 meeting with the PRT Commander, PRT
State Representative, CNTF Director, PEP Country Director and
senior provincial directors, the Governor agreed to allow
space on his compound for connex trailers to house the PEP
team. The Governor assured the assembly that he is concerned
about the rise of poppy cultivation and is committed to
eradication. He asked for international assistance to procure
tractors to conduct eradication, as he could not afford to
pay to rent tractors.

CNTF and PEP Directors Visit PEP Provinces

13. (C) Over the past three weeks, the PEP Program Manager,
PEP Country Director and Embassy Kabul CNTF Director have met
with Governors and/or Deputy Governors in Helmand, Uruzgan
and Farah to discuss PEP and the importance of the governor's
involvement in dissuading farmers not to plant. They also
talked about the development of eradication plans for their
provinces and were asked by the PEP Country Director to
submit plans to the MCN by December 15 so that the PEP
Directorate can evaluate and organize funding for the plans.


14. (C) Per REF B, the Embassy asked for provisions to carry
out PEP for 2006. This Advice for Allotment for the PEP
Program is needed as soon as possible.

Public Information campaign

15. (C) The public information campaign has moved into its
second phase and is broadcasting messages on governor-led
eradication. Eradication messages are being delivered in
conjunction with ongoing rule of law, health and alternative
livelihood messages. The same messages will be disseminated
in educational pamphlets, posters, stickers and matchbooks.

16. (C) The Public Information Campaign Program Manager has
devised a three-part strategy to communicate the PEP message.
The campaign will use prominent Afghans to deliver the
message that poppy growing is wrong. The second part of the
campaign will focus on eradication, warning Afghans that
forced eradication is coming and if they have planted poppy
they should eradicate their crops in time to plant licit

PEP Producing Results

17.(C) While the PEP program is not fully-staffed or equipped
in the provinces (and will not likely be until Spring 2006)
the Embassy notes a marked rise in the level of engagement by
the central and provincial governments of Afghanistan on CN.
A good example of this commitment is the Ministry of Interior
supported by the Ministry of Counter Narcotics, will host an
eradication operational planning meeting with representatives
from 12 key opium producing provinces (Nangarhar, Kunar,
Helmand, Uruzgan, Farah, Badakshan, Baglan, Balkh, Sar-e-pol,
Bagdhis and Samangan). Governors, police chiefs, mullahs,
elders and local leaders are scheduled to participate in
these meetings beginning on December 14. Also significant is
that the Ministry of Counter Narcotics with the Ministry of
the Hajj and Religious Affairs, the Supreme Court, the
Governor of Nangarhar and the Provincial Council will host a
meeting of 200 mullahs in Jalalabad on December 22. The
meeting is designed to inform the mullahs of the law, the
Constitutional provision on drugs, the GOA policy on
eliminating opium cultivation, to share the GOA message on
prevention and to inform them that eradication will occur
where poppies have been planted.

18. (C) These events are significant because they are
locally-led initiatives aimed at garnering support for
eradication from community leaders. The GOA is working with
the mullahs in an effort to get them to ask the governors in
their provinces to conduct eradication, as opposed to this
directive coming from Kabul or the Provincial Governor. The
MCN said that it will hold similar meetings with mullahs in
other PEP provinces.

19. (C) Comment: PEP, like any program of this magnitude and
complexity, will continue to have growing pains. All three
partners in the program-the Government of Afghanistan, the
United Kingdom and the USG understand the challenges of PEP
and are working together to meet them. All agree that PEP is
the only way forward if poppy elimination is to be achieved
in Afghanistan. End Comment.