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08KABUL1373 2008-06-07 09:31:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Kabul
Cable title:  

NURISTAN: IMPROVING GOVERNANCE AND DEVELOPMENT

Tags:   PGOV PREL PTER ECON AF 
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1. (SBU) Summary: Nuristan's capacity for governance continues to
grow. Physical construction and institutional development have led
to more effective government. Security problems have increased with
the spring thaw. A "security shura" in the most problematic
district, Kamdesh, is working to convince insurgents to stop
fighting. Governor Tamim wants to create a similar body in Waigal
District. Roads and power are the focus of infrastructure projects.
Business development activities have met with enthusiasm in the
province. End Summary.

Governance


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




2. (SBU) The primary task for Nuristan's government is construction,
both physical and institutional. Parun, the new provincial capital,
has added several new buildings in the past year, although most are
incomplete. The PRT and the provincial government plan to construct
offices for ministerial line directors. However, there is still no
housing.



3. (SBU) Governor Tamim remains the driving force behind Nuristan's
political development. He has pressed for staffing and has worked
to make officials more effective. Notably, with the Governor's
encouragement and support, the District Administrator of Do-Ab
district has become very active in the past half-year, visiting the
PRT several times to coordinate development strategies in Do-Ab.
The Governor addressed disputes over the leadership of Kamdesh
District, agreeing to recommend the replacement of the current
administrator, Enayatullah, with former administrator Gul Mohammad.
New deployments of police and staff to Mandol District have
energized District Administrator Ataullah, who had been a
non-factor.



4. (SBU) USAID's capacity-building programs have also improved
government effectiveness. Training through Local Governance and
Community Development (LGCD) programs is having an impact both in
making officials more effective and in fostering a sense of
provincial unity.

Security


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




5. (SBU) The Afghanistan NGO Security Office (ANSO) continues to
advise NGOs against operating in Nuristan. The end of winter has
brought an increase in hostile activity. Kamdesh, especially, has
been the scene of frequent contact. In Do-Ab, tensions remain after
a major operation by Afghan and coalition forces. The ambush of a
PRT mission in northwest Nurgram District indicates that area is
relatively insecure. Insurgents have moved with relative ease in
Do-Ab, lower Mandol, and even Parun.



6. (SBU) Governor Tamim has sponsored a "100-Man" security shura in
Kamdesh, where elders are trying to convince their relatives to stop
fighting coalition forces. The Governor is attempting a similar
effort in Waigal District. Bargimatal is peaceful and
pro-government. However, instability in Kamdesh, to the south,
makes travel on the only road to the rest of Afghanistan dangerous.
In Wama, a strong group of elders has kept the peace.

Development


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




7. (SBU) There are significant delays in completion of the U.S.
CERP-funded road network. A road from Nurgram to the Do-Ab and
Mandol district centers is over a year behind schedule, because the
contractor, Amerifa construction company, apparently lacks the
capacity to finish the work it has undertaken. The asphalt road
from Parun to Kunar province should be ready in the next few
months.



8. (SBU) There are no plans to link Nuristan to the national power
grid. The PRT will build a 1.4-megawatt power plant in Parun and an
800-kilowatt plant in Kala Gush, Nurgram. However, in most of the
province, access to electricity will remain a problem.
Micro-hydroelectric plants will not provide sufficient power to
spark an expansion of economic activity.



9. (SBU) USAID's Afghan Small and Medium Enterprise Development
(ASMED) program has become more active. In Nurgram, an initiative
to form the "Dairy Association of Western Nuristan" to produce and
market goat cheese, a traditional Nuristani product, met with
enthusiasm. Initiatives are underway for similar associations in

KABUL 00001373 002 OF 002


other sectors. Another program has successfully introduced more
than 100,000 fruit and nut trees. The PRT has also found
significant interest in initiatives to preserve and regenerate
Nuristan's forests. The notion of a "conservation corps" to carry
out such work has gained traction.



10. (SBU) The French NGO MADERA (Mission d'Aide au Developpement des
Economies Rurales) is expanding its portfolio. The International
Medical Corps (IMC) implements the European Commission's program of
assistance to health clinics.

WOOD