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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06KABUL1382 2006-03-29 06:07:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kabul
Cable title:  

FM ABDULLAH'S TRAVAILS

Tags:   PGOV PREL AF 
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FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9248
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RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 2584
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RUMICEA/USCENTCOM INTEL CEN MACDILL AFB FL
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KABUL 001382 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR SCA/FO (DAS GASTRIGHT), SCA/A, S/CT, EUR/RPM
NSC FOR O'SULLIVAN/HARRIMAN/AMEND
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR AID/ANE, AID/DCHA/DG
CENTCOM FOR POLAD, CG CFC-A, CG CJTF-76

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/15/2016
TAGS: PGOV PREL AF
SUBJECT: FM ABDULLAH'S TRAVAILS

KABUL 00001382 001.2 OF 002


Classified By: CHARGE RICHARD NORLAND FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D)



1. (C) SUMMARY: MFA convoked Charge on fairly short notice on
March 28 to what was billed as a farewell event for FM
Abdullah, who did not make the cut in President Karzai's
proposed Cabinet reshuffle. However, upon arrival, Charge
was treated to a 30-minute one-on-one session with the
outgoing Minister (who evidently was calling in a number of
diplomats one by one to go through the same presentation -
the EU representative was next). There was no farewell
social event. Abdullah appears still interested in the MFA
portfolio. END SUMMARY.



2. (C) Exhibiting a mixture of injured pride and subtle hope
that he could be restored to the FM position, Abdullah
elaborated on the sequence of events preceding his dismissal.
He had pleaded with the Palace before the March 20-21
Strategic Partnership talks in Washington for clarity on
whether he would remain FM, precisely in order to avoid the
embarrassment of finding out on the road that he was on the
way out. Karzai had told him nothing would happen until his
return on March 25th. Instead, Abdullah had no sooner
arrived in California on the weekend preceding the talks than
he got a call from Karzai asking him if he would be
interested in the posts of Commerce Minister or Ambassador to
India (We note for the record that Dr. Azizollah Lodin, who
has just left his job as Secretary General at the Parliament,
also claims to have been offered the India posting) or the
U.N. The two had agreed to discuss the matter upon
Abdullah's return, but since the story leaked Abdullah had to
deal with questions regarding his tenure throughout the visit.



3. (C) Upon his return, Abdullah said, Karzai offered only
lame explanations for switching him out and putting
Presidential foreign policy adviser Dr. Rangeen Dadfor Spanta
in as FM. Karzai said Abdullah's nomination would have
trouble getting through parliament - which Abdullah said was
untested and, in any case, something that certainly applied
to Spanta (as we are hearing). Karzai said Abdullah had not
lobbied to keep the job, even after Karzai's call to him in
California. Abdullah said he served at the President's
pleasure and if the President wanted him out, he was not
going to go around soliciting support. Karzai offered him
Commerce. Abdullah said he felt unqualified for the job.



4. (C) Abdullah told Charge that he had spoken again with
Karzai in the last couple of days. The conversation had been
"pleasant" because Abdullah did not want to end things on a
bitter note. Abdullah basically told Karzai, "call me if you
want me as foreign minister -- otherwise, I'll be in touch."
He was not sure what he would do next, perhaps something in
the private sector. He did not want to merely enjoy the
"comfortable life" at the UN in New York, even though he
would be well qualified for that post. Exhibiting a bit of
disdain for Afghans living abroad, he said he wanted to stay
here and help the country.



5. (C) Abdullah did lash out a little at the "yes-men" around
the President in the Palace who had launched a campaign
against him. There had been a constant barrage of criticism
regarding the MFA. Ambitious advisers were playing games in
order to advance their careers (Karzai's chief of staff Jawed
Ludin wanted London, Spanta wanted the Foreign Ministry,
National Security Adviser Rassoul wanted the Foreign Ministry
or a major ambassadorship). Someone (probably Spanta) had
spread the word that Abdullah was insufficiently supportive
of the President following a perceived public insult from the
Pakistanis to which the MFA had not responded. He knew the
Pakistan equation better than anyone in the GOA, he said.
Abdullah seemed to harbor resentment at Afghans who had
returned from abroad but were not committed to the country,

KABUL 00001382 002.2 OF 002


in many cases leaving their wives and children overseas
(though an MFA staffer mentioned later that Abdullah's own
family is in India.)



6. (C) COMMENT: Abdullah left open the option that Parliament
might not confirm Spanta as FM and Karzai might ask him to
resume the post. Spanta is often labeled as a "leftist" and
disliked by commanders and former warlords, including those
in the Parliament, for his stance on transitional justice.
Abdullah should in theory have enjoyed strong support from
Qanooni, his erstwhile Northern Alliance colleague, but we
hear that Qanooni pushed harder for his former campaign
manager General and former Deputy Minister of Defense
Barialei Khan to get a cabinet position than Abdullah.
Qaanooni reportedly wanted Barialei, who is likely a flawed
candidate (unexplained wealth) to get MOI. Qanooni is said
to be unhappy about the cabinet list, and is saying privately
that he wants to knock out 50% of Karzai's candidates during
the confirmation process. END COMMENT.




NORLAND