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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06KABUL5809
2006-12-12 03:21:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Kabul
Cable title:  

PRT/KUNDUZ: BAGHLAN GOVERNOR'S BIG TALK NOT YET

Tags:   PREL  PGOV  INR  AF 
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VZCZCXRO2678
PP RUEHDBU RUEHIK RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #5809/01 3460321
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 120321Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4813
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 3369
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 SECTION 01 OF 04 KABUL 005809 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR SCA/FO, SCA/A, S/CR, S/CT, SCA/PAB, EUR/RPM
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR AID/ANE
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 INR AF
SUBJECT: PRT/KUNDUZ: BAGHLAN GOVERNOR'S BIG TALK NOT YET
MATCHED BY SUCCESS ON THE GROUND


UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 KABUL 005809

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR SCA/FO, SCA/A, S/CR, S/CT, SCA/PAB, EUR/RPM
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR AID/ANE
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 INR AF
SUBJECT: PRT/KUNDUZ: BAGHLAN GOVERNOR'S BIG TALK NOT YET
MATCHED BY SUCCESS ON THE GROUND



1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Four months into his term as Governor of
Baghlan Province, Sayed Ekramuddin Masomi outlined his
ongoing plan of engagement with district leaders to stop
narcotics-related activities, control corruption, pursue the
Disbandment of Armed Groups (DIAG) process, and bring
security to his province, as well as to bring government
closer to the people to gain their support. Ekramuddin
claims to have already made substantial progress, including
operations to improve security and the creation of a
comprehensive development plan to coordinate and attract more
international and GOA assistance to Baghlan. Despite these
efforts, Ekramuddin appears still to be struggling for a firm
grip on the province, and in particular, on the security
challenges that it presents. Although the Governor appears
sincerely interested in improving the security and overall
development in Baghlan, it is unclear whether he actually has
the capacity to do so. END SUMMARY.

--------------
Governor Delineates the Problems...
--------------


2. (SBU) During a meeting with Baghlan Governor Sayed
Ekramuddin Masomi on December 3, PRTOff heard the Governor
outline his priorities and plans for the province, which
paralleled most of the main concerns of the central
government and the international community, namely fighting
poppy-growing and drug-trafficking; ensuring security for the
people of Baghlan; fighting corruption; and supporting the
Disbandment of Illegally Armed Groups (DIAG) program.


3. (SBU) Ekramuddin lamented the conflicts and problems he
inherited when he became Governor, and said he has been
working hard to resolve them. According to Ekramuddin the
province, which has an ethnically mixed population of Tajiks,
Pashtuns, Hazaras, and others, was badly managed prior to his
appointment, with many corrupt individuals in positions of
authority. Locals did not like the government because
officials were corrupt. In response to this discontent,

Ekramuddin said he has focused on working on improving
constituent relations to change their views and garner
support for local government.

--------------
... and Outlines his Program of Solutions
--------------


4. (SBU) The Governor asserted in the meeting that he was
well-known by locals, and that he was intimately familiar
with their needs. He said he had already visited eight of
the 15 districts in the province, and had met with local
authorities and elders to make sure they understood the
objectives of the government. He asked the authorities to
work for the people, not take bribes, not permit corruption,
and not let powerful locals make life difficult for the
people. He also asked both the leaders and the people to
tell him if they knew of any problems. If they didn't tell
him, he stressed, they were at fault for not letting him know
how he could improve governance.


5. (SBU) Ekramuddin said that he told everyone to let him
know if the wrong people were in positions of authority, and
he promised to take action to deal with such people. He said
he had already fired some District Managers and appointed
individuals who could be trusted. He added that he is not
receiving support from Kabul for this program. In
particular, he blamed the Administrative Secretary for the
Ministry of the Interior, Siddiqi, for his failure to get
approval for new District Managers. The Governor said he had
talked with President Karzai about this. He stressed that he
was working hard for the province, and the GOA should support
him. Otherwise, he concluded, the central government should
send another governor to take his place.

--------------

KABUL 00005809 002 OF 004


Governor Claims Some Success
--------------


6. (SBU) The Governor asserted that, due to his efforts, most
parts of the province are now under control. He pointed out
that recent efforts included a police operation to stop the
rampant banditry in the two most difficult districts. The
first operation, in Andarab, resulted in the arrest of two
murderers and six robbers. One individual was killed trying
to escape. A scheduled follow-up operation in Nahrin did not
occur because the alleged robbers heard about the successful
operation in Andarab and fled. Since then, according to
Ekramuddin, Baghlan has been considerably calmer. (Comment:
These operations took place recently. It is too soon to judge
whether they have had an effect on criminal activities in the
province. It is unclear whether the increased police
activity is due to the Governor or to Provincial Chief of
Police Azim. The drive to improve security has been largely
overshadowed by a battle of wills between Azim and the
Governor, who is trying to remove Azim. Ekramuddin has been
unsuccessful so far, reportedly because of Azim's connections
in the Ministry of Interior. End Comment)


7. (SBU) The Governor also said that he has put the District
Chiefs of Police on notice, informing them that if they are
not able to "control the bad actors in their areas" he will
personally "clean up" the security situation, district by
district. (Note: The Governor alluded to his previous role as
a Commander in Takhar province when making this assertion.
End Note). Ekramuddin announced that if he sees any poppy
growing in any district next year, the District Manager and
Chief of Police will either have to destroy it or they will
be fired. Warming up to his topic, the Governor also said
that all Illegally Armed Groups will have to join the DIAG
process. They will have no choice, he insisted; they must
either submit, or they will have to bury their weapons and
run away.

-------------- --------------
Interior Minister Visits, Assesses District Police
-------------- --------------


8. (SBU) The Governor noted that Minister of Interior Moqbel
had recently visited Pul-e Khumri District (an area he had
not visited for several years) as part of a visit to the
Northeast . While in Pul-e Khumri, the Governor noted that
the Minister spoke to a gathering of district officials and
elders on combating poppy growth and drug-trafficking and
providing better security in the province. The Governor said
that the Minister conveyed a message from the central
government warning that any district officials who did not
take decisive and effective action against drug activities,
including growing poppy, would be fired.


9. (SBU) Ekramuddin noted that the Minister's message was
timely. It supported his own struggle against narcotics and
corruption, and it would help the police establish better
security in Baghlan. The Governor noted that he wanted to
improve the police throughout Baghlan, adding that many were
former commanders and not necessarily qualified for their
jobs. The Governor added that there were not enough police
to provide adequate security in the districts. At
Ekramuddin's request, Minister Moqbel sent a team to survey
the needs of the Baghlan district police, including staffing
requirements (there was a shortfall of over 200 reported),
training, and equipment. The Governor said that the Minister
planned to inform his colleagues in Kabul of the results.

--------------
Governor Asks Attorney General For Help
--------------


10. (SBU) At the Governor's request, Attorney General Sabit
sent two officials to assist the Baghlan prosecutor with
major land-grabbing disputes, particularly in Killagay

KABUL 00005809 003 OF 004


District, where Tajiks reportedly have been taking land
previously held by absentee (and some returnee) Pashtuns.
These disputes have been further complicated by an influx of
Ismailis (Hazaras), also intent on obtaining land in the
fertile area. Mediation efforts so far have not been
successful, though active fighting has been mostly
controlled. Ekramuddin was confident that the Baghlan
prosecutor's office would be able to sort out these issues
with the Attorney General's assistance. (Comment: The
Governor appeared to think that the Minister of the
Interior's needs assessment for the police, and the Attorney
General's expected assistance would solve all of the police
problems and land dispute issues. Ekramuddin's attitude may
be wishful thinking, or he believes that he has done what he
can and the onus now is on Kabul to deliver. End Comment.).

--------------
Provincial "Development Plan" Completed
--------------


11. (SBU) Ekramuddin proudly noted that the Provincial
Government had completed a five-year "development plan",
including priorities broken down by sector and district, in
cooperation with the Provincial Government Line Directors,
UNAMA, the PRT, and others. The plan consists of a list of
projects the Governor would like to have completed in the
province. He said that this list was given to donors and
ministries in Kabul, and the Governor expressed hope that
these efforts will result in a more comprehensive assistance
program for Baghlan. The Governor noted that Baghlan has
received less support from the international community than
many other provinces. PRToff pointed out that a list of
projects needed was not the same thing as a development
plan. Prtoff noted that a development plan should include a
strategy for development, taking into account the
relationships among the projects, how they would impact on
one another, and which ones should be undertaken in what
order to ultimately bring the greatest benefits to the most
people. The Governor showed no interest in PRToff's
comments, and insisted the Provincial Development Plan was
complete as presented in its current form.

--------------
COMMENT
--------------


12. (SBU) Four months into his term as Governor of Baghlan
Province, Ekramuddin appears to still be struggling for a
firm grip on the province, and in particular, on the security
challenges that it presents. Despite substantial experience
as governor in two other northeast provinces (Takhar in
2002-2004 and Badakhshan in 2004-2005), and as Minister of
Labor and Social Affairs for about 14 months in 2005-2006,
Ekramuddin seems unable to find the key to managing the
difficult ethnic and political balance that Baghlan presents.
He says all the right things about fighting poppy-growing,
drug-trafficking, and corruption, as well as about supporting
DIAG and ensuring security in the province, but there is
little evidence that his efforts thus far have borne
substantial fruit. He claims that if necessary, he will use
his skills as a former jihadi commander to clean up the
districts of Baghlan, but this threat rings hollow from a
Governor who himself has been unable to travel to some
districts where banditry and lawlessness are rife. He
refused to consider that a 338-page list of projects, which
he refers to as his "development plan", might need some
additional work to turn it into a true development plan.
Although Governor Ekramuddin appears sincerely interested in
improving the security situation in Baghlan and in improving
the life of the people there, his capacity and achievements
so far are less than convincing. END COMMENT.

--------------
Biographic Notes
--------------

KABUL 00005809 004 OF 004




13. (SBU) Sayed Ekramuddin Masomi (aka Sayed Mohammed
Ekramuddin) was born in 1953/4 to a wealthy Tajik family in
the Ishkamish District of Takhar Province. He claims to have
earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from Kabul
University, but this is not confirmed. Other sources
indicate he has only a high school degree. Ekramuddin was a
commander with the Northern Alliance, fighting against both
the Soviets and the Taliban. He is a long-time member of the
Jamiyat party and a is key figure within the party in Takhar
province, serving as its head in the cities of Chal, Namak
Ab, and Taloqan.


14. (SBU) Ekramuddin was President Rabbani's Deputy Finance
Minister from 1991-1992, and continued as Finance Minister
after Rabbani fell. During the last years of the Taliban, he
was a front line commander in Chal and Ishkamish (Takhar
province). However, he did not have a good relationship with
Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud, and acted
independently in his districts. Nevertheless, he later
established close ties with key Northern Alliance figures
(Fahim, Qanooni, and Abdullah) and soon after the fall of the
Taliban (February 2002) became Governor of Takhar for two
years. He then served as Governor of Badakhshan for eight
months before moving to Kabul to become Minister of Labor and
Social Affairs for about 14 months, until March 2006.
Ekramuddin was appointed Governor of Baghlan Province on July
31, 2006.


15. (SBU) Ekramuddin grew up with General Daoud and maintains
a close friendship with him. He reportedly retains ties to
Iran through a friendship with former Afghan Ambassador to
Iran Dr. Ahmad, and Iranians reportedly used to visit him
regularly. He also maintains contact Professor Rabbani, who
reportedly provides him with financial support.
NEUMANN