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07KABUL1016 2007-03-27 13:22:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kabul
Cable title:  

PRESIDENT KARZAI REAFFIRMS STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP

Tags:   PREL PGOV PTER ASEC MARR AF 
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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7105
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 KABUL 001016 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DOD FOR USDP EDELMAN AND STATE A/S BOUCHER
STATE FOR SCA/FO A/S BOUCHER AND SAS GASTRIGHT, SCA/A,
S/CRS, SCA/PB, S/CT, EUR/RPM
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR AID/ANE, AID/DCHA/DG
NSC PASS TO AHARRIMAN
OSD FOR SHIVERS
CG CJTF-76, POLAD, JICCENT

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/26/2017
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER ASEC MARR AF
SUBJECT: PRESIDENT KARZAI REAFFIRMS STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP

REF: 06 KABUL 05452

Classified By: Ambassador Ronald Neumann for reasons 1.4 (B) and (D).

SUMMARY
-------



1. (C) During a March 13 meeting with a senior U.S.
Delegation to the U.S.-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership
talks, President Karzai reaffirmed the strategic importance
of the relationship. He asked that the U.S. do whatever it
must to minimize collateral damage and civilian deaths in
U.S. military operations. Karzai promoted his version of the
Amnesty Bill, which he says is the first to recognize
explicitly victims' rights. U.S. Delegation encouraged
Karzai to strengthen the Afghan Government's strategic
communications capability, to expand his travel to the
provinces, and to acknowledge a decrease in anti-Afghan
rhetoric from the Pakistan Government. They also emphasized
the importance of improving Helmand Governor Wafa's wilting
efforts at poppy eradication, which alone could tip the
balance over last year's figures. END SUMMARY.

REAFFIRMING THE STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP


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





2. (C) On March 13, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
Eric Edelman, Assistant Secretary of State for South and
Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher, Special Assistant to
the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Iraq
and Afghanistan Meghan O,Sullivan, and Ambassador Neumann
met with President Karzai on U.S. military operations,
strategic communications, Presidential travel, Helmand poppy
eradication, the amnesty bill, and Pakistan. Other senior
members of the U.S. Strategic Partnership delegation at the
meeting included USNATO Ambassador Victoria Nuland, Joint
Staff Director for Strategic Plans and Policy LTG John
Sattler, and Office of the Secretary of Defense Senior
Advisor on Central Asia Mitchell Shivers.



3. (C) USD(P) Edelman said he was struck by both the breadth
and depth of issues encompassed by the Strategic Partnership.
He emphasized U.S. long-term commitment to Afghanistan,
which was reinforced by President Bush's $11.8 billion
supplemental request. USD(P) Edelman observed, however, that
executing the money will be a challenge, and that General
Durbin had his work cut out for him.

MINIMIZING COLLATERAL DAMAGE


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





4. (C) President Karzai thanked the delegation, saying their
visit presented a good media opportunity. Moving the
Strategic Partnership forward was of high importance to
Afghanistan. He urged the U.S. not to repeat recent
incidents of collateral damage and civilian deaths,
reportedly involving U.S. forces. He said the victims often
visit him, not to accuse him, but to share their pain. Their
message, though, is that they do not want international
forces to leave. He asked that we all "try our best to make
sure that this does not happen again."



5. (C) USD(P) Edelman reassured Karzai that the U.S. goal was
to protect the population and to avoid these kinds of
"tragedies." He said they are under investigation and that
we may need to examine our tactics, techniques, and
procedures. He observed that the Taliban attempt to create
these situations by operations amidst civilians, and Karzai
agreed.

IMPROVING STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION


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





6. (C) Ambassador Neumann said that the media does not blame

KABUL 00001016 002 OF 003


the Taliban for causing such incidents and asked if the
Palace engaged in media outreach to address this imbalance.
Karzai said, "I have not been able to do that properly." He
said he does not like the term "spring offensive," because it
lends an air of military legitimacy and authority to what is
effectively a loosely organized collection of brutal
terrorist acts.



7. (C) USD(P) Edelman encouraged the Government to build on
the early successes of the National Communication
Coordination Center (NC3). Karzai said he did not know much
about it and asked whether the NC3 is in fact working.
Ambassador Neumann said that it is starting to work and it is
better than anything in place before, but that it is not big
enough to carry the whole load. Assistant Secretary Boucher
said we are working to tie such efforts into NATO to support
the Government's message.

FOCUS ON HELMAND


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





8. (C) Karzai said he is seeing signs of improvement in the
north, but that we need to focus on Helmand. He said if our
"friends" in Pakistan are friendlier, then "things will look
good." Ambassador Neumann noted Helmand Governor Wafa's
extended absence to prepare for the Jirga and said that the
governor-led eradication campaign is working everywhere
except in Helmand. The U.S.-led group cut 250 hectares of
poppy in one day and the Afghan group has only cut 70
hectares in total. Without Afghan Government efforts, the
figures for this year's poppy harvest will exceed those of
last year, largely due to Helmand. Karzai told an aid to put
him in touch with Governor Wafa. He said unless we eradicate
poppy in Taliban lands farmers who support the government
will think only they are accountable. Boucher agreed, saying
we have to show the people that the Taliban cannot protect
them.

KARZAI AND GOVERNORS SHOULD BE SEEN IN THE PROVINCES


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



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





9. (C) Assistant Secretary Boucher encouraged Karzai to
increase his travel throughout Afghanistan. Karzai responded
that he is "frustrated" with how little he has been able to
travel to the provinces. He said he was unable to obtain air
lift support for his security vehicles for a recent trip to
Helmand. Ambassador Neumann said he would look into it.
Karzai said, "The more I'm in the provinces the better it
will be for all of us."



10. (C) However, Karzai expressed his frustration with the
number of Afghan officials spending time outside Afghanistan
on donor-funded visits and requested that the Embassy "limit
trips for local officials to the U.S., especially this summer
when it is most important that they be seen doing their job
in Afghanistan." He specifically referred to a U.S.
International Visitor Program that was planning to send eight
to ten governors to the U.S. in June. He said a police chief
disappeared for 20 days and it turned out he was in London on
a program. Ambassador Neumann replied that he would look at
our programs. (NOTE: The Embassy has postponed the
Governor's IV Program until after the summer. END NOTE.)

KARZAI PROMOTES HIS VERSION OF THE AMNESTY BILL


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

--



11. (C) Karzai asked what the U.S. thought about the new
version of the Amnesty Bill. Assistant Secretary Boucher
said, "You did what you said you would do." Karzai said the
bill is the first time victims' rights are explicitly
recognized and preserves the right of the Attorney General to
summon criminals. He said he would have the bill translated
and distributed more widely.


KABUL 00001016 003 OF 003


COOPERATION WITH PAKISTAN: JIRGA AND BUGTI


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





12. (C) Karzai said the proposed Jirga was being "well
received" and that there was "enthusiasm for results" in
Pakistan. However, he said Afghanistan wants to hold the
Jirga in a month, while Pakistan wants to wait. He lamented
that Musharraf did not meet with the Afghan Jirga Commission
delegation during their recent visit, but said "the fact that
they visited is good enough for now."



13. (C) Boucher said he had noticed a "certain restraint" on
the part of Karzai's public comments about Pakistan. Karzai
said, "On our part, yes; their's, not so much," but then
acknowledged that "Musharraf has been quiet." Karzai said
the issue of Bugti's grandson (reftel) is a "historic chance
for cooperation between the two countries," and offered a
meeting "any time, any place, perhaps at the South Asian
Association for Regional Cooperation meeting."



14. (C) U/S Edelman then requested a closed door meeting with
President Karzai, also attended by A/S Boucher and Ambassador
Neumann (septel).



15. (C) The U.S. Delegation cleared this cable.

NEUMANN