Viewing cable 06KABUL3021
Title: AMBASSADOR AND MRS NEUMANN VISIT LITHUANIAN PRT

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06KABUL30212006-07-06 07:26:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kabul
VZCZCXRO0061
RR RUEHDBU
DE RUEHBUL #3021/01 1870726
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 060726Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1215
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUEHVL/AMEMBASSY VILNIUS 0033
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
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RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RULSDMK/DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION WASHDC 0083
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA 1493
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 6123
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 KABUL 003021 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCA/FO, SCA/A, S/CRS, SCA/PAB, S/CT, EUR/RPM 
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR AID/ANE, AID/DCHA/DG 
NSC FOR AHARRIMAN, KAMEND 
OSD FOR BREZINSKI 
CENTCOM FOR CG CFC-A, CG CJTF-76 POLAD 
TREASURY FOR D/S KIMMITT, APARAMESWARAN, AJEWELL 
REL NATO/ISAF/AS/NZ 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/05/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PTER PINR EAID ECON LH AF
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR AND MRS NEUMANN VISIT LITHUANIAN PRT 
CHAGHCHARAN 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Ronald Neumann for reason 1.4 (B) and (D). 
 
¶1. (U) Summary: Ambassador and Mrs. Neumann and Lithuanian 
Ambassador Srsknys visited Lithuanian PRT Chaghcharan on June 
23, and met with Ghor Governor and other provincial 
officials.  The Lithuanians impressed the Ambassador with 
their excellent relations with provincial officials, regular 
patrols throughout the province and efforts to identify niche 
projects where their limited development budget could 
complement the work of their Nordic partners and the U.S. 
The Lithuanians host Danish, Croatian and Icelandic military 
contingents that assist with patrols and Danish, Icelandic 
and US development professionals.  Both the Lithuanian 
commander and Ambassador stressed that contining support from 
the US State and AID representatives is crucial to their 
continued success in Chaghcharan  The governor appears to be 
a dedicated and capable man and attentive to the needs of his 
province.  The two greatest development challenges in Ghor 
Province are roads and the expected food shortage next year 
due to recent drought.  End Summary. 
 
¶2.  (U) Ambassador and Mrs. Neumann traveled to PRT 
Chaghcharan June 23 to meet with the Lithuanian PRT command, 
provincial governor and local officials.  The Lithuanians 
clearly showed the hard work and effort they have made to 
create a stable security environment through regular patrols, 
maintaining good relationships with provincial and local 
officials, and in working with their Nordic partners and 
USAID to contribute to development in Ghor Province. 
Security patrols are carried out by Lithuanian, Danish, 
Croatian and Icelandic military, a testament to Lithuania's 
effort to foment partnerships that extend their resources. 
 
¶3. (U) Reconstruction work is particularly challenging in 
Ghor, the poorest of Afghanistan's 34 provinces.  Road 
construction is the key priority for the PRT, with health, 
education, water and economic growth projects also underway. 
This summer's drought will likely lead to a considerable food 
shortage that may require assistance from the international 
community.  The Lithuanians are looking for areas to 
supplement the significant assistance funds provided by 
USAID, Denmark and Iceland.  The PRT commander and Ambassador 
noted that Lithuania's success in Ghor can only be maintained 
through the continued cooperation of their small coalition of 
Nordic partners, as well as the presence of USAID and State 
representatives.  The Lithuanians are doing very well with 
their limited resources and are committed to success in 
Chaghcharan.  Ambassador Srsknys told Governor Afzali that, 
"Lithuania has now experienced 16 years of independence from 
the Soviet Union, and can bring a lot of advice and 
experience from its transition to a democracy and market 
economy." 
 
Lithuanian PRT Chaghcharan 
-------------------------- 
 
¶4. (U) The Lithuanians took command of PRT Chaghcharan in 
early May 2006, which comprises 122 Lithuanian soldiers, 11 
Danes, 8 Croats and 8 Icelandic military staff.  In addition 
to the Lithuanian Special Mission, which currently consists 
of one POLAD who works on aid and political issues, there is 
an Icelandic aid professional and a Danish military 
contingent working on development.  The Lithuanians are 
excellent hosts for the USAID and State PRT representatives. 
They are worried about an upcoming gap in U.S. officer 
staffing and hope they can be replaced as soon as possible. 
 
¶5. (U) The PRT is situated less than a mile from the dirt 
 
KABUL 00003021  002 OF 004 
 
 
landing strip, just outside of Chaghcharan.  The town is 
surrounded by low hills resembling brown sand dunes, rugged 
mountains and steep scree slopes.  Chaghcharan is bisected by 
the Hari Rud river, which divides the residential side of 
town from the main commercial district and government 
offices.  The dirt and gravel Kabul-Herat road runs alongside 
the river.  Men and children play, swim and fish all up and 
down the river gorge. 
 
Safe and Secure for the Most Part 
--------------------------------- 
 
¶6. (C)  The PRT provided a mostly upbeat report on security 
in the province.  Regular PRT patrols rarely encounter 
resistance.  Recently however, the Croatian team was attacked 
during the night by a group suspected of being Taliban 
crossing the border from Helmand as a result of Operation 
Mountain Thrust.  There have been four rocket attacks total 
in the past year, a relatively small number compared to the 
provinces surrounding Ghor.  Minor security worries include 
crime and the possibility that more bands will move out of 
areas affected by Operation Mountain Thrust. 
 
¶7. (U) The security operations conducted by the PRT are quite 
robust.  In the one month and a half the current command had 
been in operation, they had conducted twelve day-time patrols 
and seven night-time patrols of the areas near Chaghcharan, 
of which 7 were joint patrols with the ANP.  The mobile 
patrol teams had conducted eight patrols in outlying 
districts, of 4-5 days duration, and held 32 meetings with 
district officials. 
 
¶8. (U) On DIAG/DDR, the provincial players and government are 
at least willing to go through the motions, but the PRT felt 
there was little actual commitment.  They noted that the 
lists of commanders and the estimates of their weapons are 
not logically consistent, and that the weapons turned over so 
far have usually been inoperative.  Local officials also 
argue that there are good commanders and bad commanders and 
that those that do not challenge peace and stability should 
not be disbanded.  The provincial representative for the 
Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Deputy Police Chief 
have argued publically that weapons are valuable, and that 
people should receive money for turning them in.  The State 
rep also said people argue, that without a robust police 
presence, they are afraid to give up their arms. 
 
The Governor and Governance 
--------------------------- 
 
¶9. (C) Governor Abdul Ahad Afzali, a Tajik from Badakhshan, 
is well respected by the PRT command and the USAID and State 
reps.  The PRT also believes he is well respected among local 
officials and the populace, and makes a concerted effort to 
deal with key local issues, and works well with the PRT to 
identify reconstruction projects.  The new ANP Chief, General 
Shah Jahaan Noori, is also from Badakhshan, and maintains 
close relations with the mayor.  The Lithuanian Intelligence 
Officer suggested the governor was likely linked to the local 
power brokers and drug trade, but offered no proof. 
 
¶10. (C) According to the State PRT representative, the 
Governor is skilled at balancing the interests of the three 
main power brokers in the province:  Wolesi Jirga member Dr. 
Ibrahim Malak Zada (southern Ghor), General Ahmad Murghabi 
(northern districts) and General Rais Abdul Salaam 
(Chaghcharan area).  These three maintain their influence by 
having their followers appointed to local and provincial 
 
KABUL 00003021  003 OF 004 
 
 
office, and according to Lithuanian conjecture, profiting 
from the drug transit trade. 
 
¶11. (C) Ghor's Provincial Council (PC) remains a relatively 
weak institution, lacking salary and resources.  The governor 
recently took over the Council's offices, requiring them to 
secure new ones.  They are somewhat effective at listening to 
constituents and making referrals to the Governor.  The PRT 
State rep said it was difficult to know whether the PC as a 
whole was truly representative of the entire province, though 
there is at least one member from each of the districts.  The 
PC Chair and  Deputy Mayor of Chaghcharan are both nephews of 
power broker General Salaam. 
 
Development and Reconstruction 
------------------------------ 
 
¶12. (U) USAID is the most active development agency and has 
completed 143 projects in Ghor Province, totaling USD 9.3 
million, of which USD 3.5 million was spent in FY2005. 
USAID's projects include road improvements, seven health 
centers in the north, six new schools and the purchase of 
150,000 text books, and 33 water projects.  The USAID officer 
has made a concerted effort to get local buy-in through a 
Provincial Development Planning Conference held in early 
March.  Key priorities included the Herat - Chaghcharan road 
(dirt road improvement usling local menial labor), more 
school construction, community road projects in the 
Chaghcharan area, microfinance projects and improving the 
road to Maimana in Faryab province. 
 
¶13. (U)  Clearly, road reconstruction and communication are 
priorities for the people of Ghor.  Ambassador and Mrs. 
Neumann visited a portion of USAID's road resurfacing 
project, where locals are leveling and graveling the main 
Chaghcharan road.  Mrs. Neumann noted that the condition of 
the narrow road that skirted the steep sides of the river 
canyon was not much better than it had been on their visit 39 
years earlier.  A vehicle requires two to three days to drive 
the 340 km to Herat and three days for the 440 km to Kabul. 
In the winter, the roads are often impassable.  The USAID 
project will improve 189 km of this road, and employ local 
workers at USD 3/day.  The Governor, provincial officials and 
the PRT hope it will lead to a boom in the local economy. 
(Note: Provincial Officials would prefer a paved road, that 
we cannot afford.  Ambassador Neumann argued for the benefits 
of the project and promised to return within a year to see 
how acceptable it is to the local people.  End Note.) 
 
¶14. (U) Key challenges in the province remain.  Ghor Province 
is highly vulnerable to drought, and this year's drought is 
causing serious concern about food shortages.  PRT staff and 
local officials all had hoped the international community 
would provide more food aid.  Ambassador Neumann mentioned 
that he was asking donor countries active in PRTs to 
contribute more food aid.  In the case of PRT Chaghcharan, he 
suggested that Iceland or Denmark could focus on food aid if 
Lithuania was unable to do so.  Another worry is the small 
number of NGOs active in the province, and the limited 
reconstruction support received from Kabul.  Only two capable 
NGOs remain, and one active in the south has considered 
pulling out due to the perceived security threat. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
¶15. (U) The trip to PRT Chaghcharan enhanced U.S. Embassy 
outreach efforts and resulted in a better understanding of 
 
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conditions in a remote province.  The Lithuanians are doing a 
considerable job with limited resources, using a small 
coalition of partners to maintain a robust security posture, 
which allows development work to continue.  USAID, the EU and 
Lithuania's other partners are the serious players in 
development work, with clearly identified objective in roads, 
health and economic development.  With continued to support 
from USAID and State representatives, and capable NGO 
partners, PRT Chaghcharan should prove to be one of ISAF's 
true success stories. 
 
¶16. Bio Note:  Governor Shah Abdul Ahad Afzali:  Born 1953 in 
Badakhshan Province, he served previously in the Badakhshan 
provincial administration and is a member of the 
Jamiat-e-Islami party.  He is known to have connections in 
the Ministries of Education, Finance and Foreign Affairs. 
NEUMANN