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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09KABUL629 2009-03-17 12:57:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kabul
Cable title:  

ISOLATION OF SEBARI BEGINS

Tags:   PGOV PREL KDEM AF 
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VZCZCXRO1604
OO RUEHDBU RUEHPW
DE RUEHBUL #0629/01 0761257
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 171257Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7799
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KABUL 000629 

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SRAP, SCA/FO, SCA/A, EUR/RPM
STATE PASS USAID FOR ASIA/SCAA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/17/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM AF
SUBJECT: ISOLATION OF SEBARI BEGINS

Classified By: PRT and Sub-National Governance Director Valerie C. Fowl
er for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

SUMMARY
-------



1. (C) The Sebari District in north-central Khost remains one
of the most insecure in the province, and a February security
shura in Sebari highlighted the challenges the Government of
Afghanistan (GIRoA) faces in establishing a relationship with
local elders to stem the violence. Despite repeated promises
from elders and other leaders in the district to provide
information to assist the Government in stemming the
violence, 33 Afghan National Police (ANP) and 10 Afghan
National Army (ANA) were killed in the past year, and the
district was the scene of the most IED attacks of any
district in the country. In an effort to put pressure on the
Sebari elders to be more responsive, the PRT, maneuver
battalion, and TF Currahee have agreed to implement a policy
of isolation. Under this policy, development and governance
projects will be denied to Sebari, even as they continue to
be implemented in districts surrounding it. The goal will be
to highlight the development benefits that flow from support
to the Afghan government,s security efforts. Under the new
policy, which was developed in consultation with Governor
Qalandarzai, security will continue to be provided in Sebari.

ELDERS PROTEST SECURITY OPERATIONS


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





2. (SBU) The February security shura in Sebari, attended by
tribal elders, representatives of the Afghan National
Security Forces (ANSF), Coalition Forces (CF), and the GIRoA,
was one of the first high-profile appearances by Governor
Hamidullah Qalandarzai. He delivered a strong message urging
support for the GIRoA,s efforts to end insecurity. Tribal
elders agreed on the need for development in Sebari, but made
no new promises to report on insurgent activity or to resist
insurgent presence in the district. Instead, the elders
enumerated grievances, including: the seizure of AK-47s by
ANSF or CF, noting that Afghan law permits each Afghan to
possess an AK-47 in his home for safety; night operations,
including house and madrassa searches; detentions; the
killing of civilians by CF; and stolen property, primarily
jewelry, during searches.



3. (SBU) The District Administrator, Gul Qasim, sporting his
customary bandolier, took a position between the other GIRoA
representatives and the elders, echoing concerns about
weapons seizures and emphasizing that security forces should
respect Afghan culture. He argued that the people of Sebari
could not be "put on the right way by force." He said we
need to proceed slowly, listen to their problems, and solve
them jointly. Qasim criticized the poor communication by
GIRoA, noting that he only learned of the shura the night
before and that he is not informed when ANSF and CF conduct
operations in his district. Qasim concluded by reiterating
that the hearts of the people of Sebari could not be won by
force and quoted a Pashto saying "if an Afghan takes his
revenge after 100 years, it is not too late for him," a
remark that was greeted with loud applause.

ELDERS CHALLENGED TO ASSIST GIROA IN SECURITY


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





4. (SBU) Afghan National Police (ANP) and Afghan National
Army (ANA) speakers emphasized Sebari,s place as the most
insecure district in the province, where 33 ANP and 10 ANA
had been killed along the road leading to Sebari (via IEDs
and attacks on checkpoints) in the past year. ANA and ANP
both stressed that the enemy could not be present in Sebari
without local support. ANA General Israr criticized enemy
propaganda broadcasts from mosques forbidding appropriate
Islamic burial rites and prayers for fallen ANSF. He noted
that the people of Sebari had made a lot of requests from the
government, and in return, the government had requested their
help in securing the district - to no avail.



5. (C) The maneuver commander stressed that CF are in
Afghanistan to help make it stable and secure, but the Sebari
people have broken previous promises to contribute to
security. As evidence, he cited a recent case in which
Sebari elders requested the release of a detainee (an IED
facilitator caught attacking the Yaqubi sub-station in
Sebari), signed an agreement pledging there would be no more
IEDs if the detainee were released, and then did nothing when
21 IEDs and 17 events of indirect fire took place following
his release. The commander pledged to work with the madrassa
union to address any problems, to continue to respect Afghan
culture, and to cease night operations if security is

KABUL 00000629 002 OF 002


established in Sebari.

GOVERNOR URGES AFGHAN SUPPORT FOR AFGHANISTAN


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





6. (C) Governor Qalandarzai interspersed references to Islam
and Afghan culture throughout his remarks, and showed respect
for the assembled elders by reminding them of their
familiarity with traditional forms of Afghan decision-making
(shuras and jirgas) that allow people to
work out joint solutions. The governor described himself as
an Afghan, a mujahid, and a Muslim who works with the GIRoA
and encouraged the people of Sebari to do the same. The
governor chided the elders for failing to report suspicious
activities and people either to the district administrator or
to him. He noted that security operations occur for a reason
and, absent security, development could not take place in
Sebari. Reminding those assembled that they are the key to
security, he pledged that "if you can promise me there will
be no IEDs here, we will stop all the missions. I promise
you that." As the governor closed with a prayer for a secure
Afghanistan, a rocket detonated nearby, providing a suitably
ironic ending to the security shura.

Comment


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





7. (C) The decision of the TF Currahee commander to isolate
Sebari from development but not security (both ANSF and CF
will remain) was not taken lightly and was made in
consultation with Governor Qalandarzai. Persistent security
problems have resulted in a virtual standstill in development
for months anyway. The new CF and GIRoA policy will seek to
focus attention on development in the districts surrounding
Sebari and highlight the benefits that ensue from
improvements in security. In the days since the shura,
significant security incidents continued, including two IEDs,
the murder of a local national accused of being an informant,
a booby-trap device, and six incidents of gunfire. It
remains to be seen how effective the new policy will be and
what next steps will be taken should the policy fail to
elicit significant change.



8. (U) This report has been reviewed by the Khost PRT
Commander, TF Glory,s LTC David Ell, and TF Currahee
Regional Advisor Kelly Degnan.
WOOD