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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09CANBERRA1103 2009-12-16 06:34:00 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Canberra
Cable title:  

SPECIAL ENVOY: CIVILIANS TO AFGHANISTAN STILL A

Tags:   PGOV PREL PINS AF AS 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 CANBERRA 001103 

NOFORN
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E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/16/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINS AF AS
SUBJECT: SPECIAL ENVOY: CIVILIANS TO AFGHANISTAN STILL A
WORK IN PROGRESS

CANBERRA 00001103 001.2 OF 002


Classified By: Pol/Econ Counselor Edgard D. Kagan, reasons 1.4 (b)(d)

Summary
-------



1. (C/NF) Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ric
Smith told us that the Australian government has yet to agree
upon specific numbers for the recently announced expansion of
its civilian effort in Afghanistan. Smith, who seemed less
enthusiastic and engaged than in past meetings, said that the
new deployments are likely to include about 5 additional
diplomats, around 10 AusAID personnel, and 10 to 20 officers
from the Australian Federal Police. He predicted that the
numbers would be firmed up early in 2010 but would not be
approved by the Cabinet until February. Smith was not sure
that a plan would be finalized by the January 18 AUSMIN
meeting, where the Australians expect us to raise this issue.
The delay in defining this policy may signal disagreement
within the government as to what the civilian presence in
Afghanistan should look like. END SUMMARY.

Civilian Commitment Not Finalized


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





2. (C/NF) In a December 15 meeting Smith told us the
government has yet to settle on the exact size and makeup of
its "civilian surge" in Afghanistan. Prime Minister Kevin
Rudd announced his plans to send more civilians to
Afghanistan during a recent visit to Washington. Smith
believed that Rudd would like to send upwards of 50
civilians, but expected the final numbers to be considerably
lower than that. Smith told us to expect that the civilian
expansion would include about 5 additional diplomats to be
stationed at a new Australian Embassy in Kabul, 10 AusAID
personnel, and 10 to 20 Australian Federal Police (AFP)
officers.



3. (C/NF) According to Smith, plans for sending additional
civilians will not be finalized until early in 2010.
Afghanistan Section Director Paul Noonan noted that the first
meeting of the National Security Committee, which would
likely have the final say on any proposal, is not scheduled
to meet again until February of next year. Smith and Noonan
both did expect, however, that the broad outlines of the
policy will be in place in time for the AUSMIN meeting on
January 18, when the Australians are anticipating that we
will raise this issue. It is likely that they will be able
to provide more details at that time, but the composition of
the civilian effort will not be be finalized until February
at the earliest.

Smith Increasingly Pessimistic


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





4. (C/NF) In earlier meetings, Smith was positive about the
expansion of the civilian effort, but in the most recent
meeting he struck a more pessimistic tone. Smith hinted at
some ADF reservations about the government's plans, noting
that ADF commanders "on the ground" were skeptical of the
greater security commitments a larger civilian presence would
entail. Smith also questioned the utility of the AFP police
training mission. He doubted what police trainers could
accomplish given the "train wreck" that they have been given
to work with in the Afghan police force. Smith also stated
his belief that civilians, while important, would not be the
difference between success and failure in Afghanistan. He
said that the focus on the lack of a civilian presence in
Afghanistan feels to him as though someone is looking for a
QAfghanistan feels to him as though someone is looking for a
scapegoat.

Policy Contingent on Dutch


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





5. (C/NF) Smith also noted that Australia will be unable to
finalize plans until the Dutch announce what their future
involvement in Oruzgan Province will look like. The Dutch
intend to pull out of Oruzgan, where nearly all of the
Australian troops in Afghanistan are located, in August, but
Smith does not believe that this decision is final. As
Australian civilians currently rely in part on the Dutch
military for force protection, any increase in civilians is
contingent upon whether the Dutch withdrawal as planned and
who will take their place if they do. Smith hopes that the
Dutch will remain in Oruzgan in some capacity. He was

CANBERRA 00001103 002.2 OF 002


dismissive of proposed plans to spread Dutch forces
throughout Afghanistan rather than concentrate them, saying
this will only increase the costs and decrease the impact of
the Dutch force. If the Dutch do pull out, Australia would
need to consider altering the makeup of its force in
Afghanistan, putting a greater emphasis on security.

Comment


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





6. (C/NF) The Australian government had hoped to roll-out
its planned expansion of the civilian effort in Afghanistan
shortly after President Obama's speech announcing the way
forward, but the formulation of the plan is taking longer
than expected. Rudd, who is loath to increase troop levels,
had hoped to offer the increased civilian effort to the
United States as a substitute. The Australians began
preparing for the President's announcement months in advance
and the lack of progress is surprising. Coupled with
Smith's increasingly pessimistic attitude, this may be a sign
of friction within the government over the proper role for
civilians in Afghanistan.

CLUNE