C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 VILNIUS 000698
C O R R E C T E D C O P Y (PAR 3/4 CLASSIFICATION CHANGED)
STATE FOR S/SRAP AMBASSADOR RICHARD HOLBROOKE AND PDAS PAUL
STATE FOR EUR/NB, EUR/RPM, AND SCA/A HENRY ENSHER
EMBASSY KABUL FOR AMBASSADOR E ANTHONY WAYNE
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/21/2019
TAGS: MAPP MOPS NATO PREL EAID AF LH
SUBJECT: AFGHANISTAN: SPAIN, ITALY BILATERAL MEETINGS AT
RC-WEST IN VILNIUS
REF: VILNIUS 695
VILNIUS 00000698 001.2 OF 003
Classified By: A/DCM John M. Finkbeiner for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
Â¶1. (C) SUMMARY: On December 8-9, Director of Office of
Afghanistan Affairs Henry Ensher led a U.S. delegation
comprised of U.S. officers posted to Herat and Ghor
provinces, the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs,
USAID, the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), the
Joint Staff, CENTCOM and U.S. Embassy Vilnius to the Regional
Command-West (RC-W) conference in Vilnius, Lithuania.
Ensher, along with Brad Hanson, the Senior Civilian
Representative for RC-W, met with heads of delegations from
Italy and Spain (as well as with Lithuania, reported septel)
in a series of bilateral discussions. The U.S. side focused
on formalizing and improving means of support for U.S.
civilians assigned to allied-led Provincial Reconstruction
Teams (PRTs). Representatives for both Italy and Spain
agreed to raise U.S. concerns with Rome and Madrid.
Â¶2. (C) The senior Italian representative raised the concern
that growing the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) at an
increased rate would be a greater waste of money and
resources given the recruitment and retention issues that
persist at current levels. Rather than focus on quantity at
the expense of quality, the U.S. should instead focus on
fixing the issues with the Afghan National Civil Order Police
(ANCOP). The Italian representative expressed concern that
the province of Farah might be taken out of RC-W and included
in a new regional command to be formed after the arrival of
the additional U.S. troops. The Spanish representative said
her country would explore the idea of a civilian counterpart
to COMISAF, but noted that Spain would find it difficult to
accept a U.S. official in this role. END SUMMARY.
Â¶3. (C) On December 8, Director of the Office of
Afghanistan Affairs and Head of Delegation (HoD) to the RC-W
Workshop Henry Ensher and Senior Civilian Representative for
RC-W Brad Hanson conducted a bilateral meeting with Italy on
the margins of the RC-W Workshop. Carlo Batori,
International Security Political-Military Counselor and
Deputy Director in the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(MFA) and Giuseppe Perricone, First Secretary of the Italian
MFA and former MFA representative at PRT Herat represented
Italy in this meeting.
Â¶4. (C) The discussion centered on the Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU) proposed by Embassy Kabul to the Italian
Ambassador in Kabul regarding the provision of support by
Italy at PRT Herat to U.S. civilians. Batori asked for
clarification regarding the numbers of anticipated United
States Government (USG) civilians at Italian-commanded
facilities and the status of the planned Herat consulate.
Hanson first noted that the USG was responding to a long-time
request by the Italians for a written MOU governing the
presence of USG civilians at the Italian-led PRT. Hanson
explained that there are currently three U.S. civilians
working at PRT Herat (two State Department personnel and one
from USAID). When the consulate in Herat opens, the two
State officers will depart the PRT. The U.S. wants to keep
one USAID officer at the PRT. Hanson also briefed on a
proposal to the RC-W commander to post a USAID development
advisor and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) advisor at
RC-W Headquarters. The MOU would cover both locations. In
addition, the U.S. may be asking the PRT to temporarily
provide one or two Americans assigned to the consulate with
accommodations for a few weeks or months before the
consulate opens. The U.S. would like to see the MOU cover
all of these U.S. personnel at both locations.
Â¶5. (C) Hanson indicated we would be submitting shortly to the
Italian Embassy in Kabul a revised paragraph governing
security and movement to reflect the reality that U.S.
personnel will self-drive in Herat as they have in the past.
VILNIUS 00000698 002.2 OF 003
Discussion ensued regarding possible security arrangements.
Â¶6. (C) Batori noted that these are issues for the Ministry of
Defense (MoD) to answer, but that he would raise them with
the general staff. They would be unwilling to accept an
open-ended agreement, but he was pleased that Hanson
specified the specific numbers for short- and long-term
support. More specifically, regarding security, it would be
difficult for the Italian military to provide it for U.S.
personnel when it does not provide security for Italian
civilians. Instead, security is provided by the Carabinieri
-- which also explains why it would be impossible for the
U.S. to buy a portion of the security contract as was done
with the British in the South.
Â¶7. (C) Hanson asked that threat information be provided to
the USG civilians and that, in extremis, if the PRT is not
able to provide a quick reaction force (QRF), that it
facilitate communication between a USG civilian in a
life-threatening situation with others who might provide a
QRF. Hanson also noted that with the opening of a consulate,
there would be new USG security resources to help protect USG
Â¶8. (C) Regarding the sharing of threat information, Batori
noted that sharing threat information is a "two-way street"
and that if agreed to, the U.S. civilians at PRT Herat should
also provide Italy with U.S. threat analyses. Hanson noted
that he already shares specific threat information coming his
way with the PRT. PRT Herat now has a U.S. military liaison,
who could also provide the PRT with classified threat
information. Furthermore, a Regional Security Officer (RSO)
will be part of the consulate staff, and he/she will work
hard to develop good relations with PRT security colleagues,
including sharing threat information.
Â¶9. (C) Regarding the QRF request, Batori doubted this could
be arranged formally because priority in such a situation
would be given to the safety of Italian and ISAF military
personnel and that the ability to respond would be dictated
by events. Batori said he would take this to the MoD and
urge a solution that would be as open as possible.
Â¶10. (C) Regarding Italy's troop increase, Batori said Italy
will cap their number at 4,000 but that in reality, there
might be more. Currently, Italy has around 3,100 troops in
Afghanistan. Of the 4,000 Italy expects to have in
Afghanistan, most will be in RC-W, with a few hundred in
Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif.
Â¶11. (C) Ensher suggested that the brevity of Italian civilian
tours diminishes their potential effectiveness. Batori and
Perricone both acknowledged this, but noted the difficulty of
finding qualified personnel to go to Afghanistan, making the
recycling of personnel a necessary, but admittedly imperfect,
Â¶12. (C) Batori was very concerned about Afghan National Civil
Order Police (ANCOP) attrition and retention rates,
especially given how much time and money had been invested in
this particular part of the Afghanistan National Security
Forces (ANSF). He pointed to the under-utilized capacity at
the Adraskan National Training Center in Herat province.
Rather than grow the ANSF at a rate that guarantees quantity
over quality, the U.S. should consider making retention of
ANCOP a priority issue.
Â¶13. (C) Batori proposed that our focus should be on elite
units that can add value rather than going for sheer
quantity. Hammering out the problems with ANCOP should take
precedence. Hanson proposed that pay scales should reflect
the education and literacy of entering recruits both to
attract higher quality personnel and to help with retention.
Â¶14. (C) Batori noted that the Italian military is very
concerned about the rumors of taking Farah out of RC-W. Many
of Italy's new troops could potentially go to Farah and if
VILNIUS 00000698 003.2 OF 003
Farah is taken from RC-W, the decision would be very
difficult to support in Rome.
Â¶15. (C) On December 9, 2009, Ensher and Hanson also conducted
a bilateral meeting on the margins of the RC-W workshop with
Spain. Spanish Counselor to NATO Teresa Orjales Vidal
represented Spain in this meeting.
Â¶16. (C) Ensher asked what Spain thinks about a civilian
analogue to COMISAF. Vidal said that the issue needs to be
discussed and that there has not been enough time to evaluate
generally the idea of a civilian coordinator. However, she
offered that although she appreciates the fact that most of
the military and civilian effort in Afghanistan comes from
the U.S., perceptions matter. If the U.S. leads the civilian
effort as it does in the International Security Assistance
Force (ISAF), there will appear to be no balance and this
will affect public opinion.
Â¶17. (C) Vidal said that the additional military contributions
will total roughly 220 military personnel, as well as some
number of additional civilians.
Â¶18. (C) Hanson raised the MOU proposed to the Spanish
ambassador in Kabul regarding the provision of support by
Spain at PRT Badghis to U.S. civilians. Hanson explained
that the U.S. would like to propose the addition of a USDA
expert and a second USAID officer to add to the officers
already there from the State Department and USAID --
increasing the number of U.S. civilians at PRT Badghis to
four. The proposed MOU is an attempt to respond to some
allies, desire for a written MOU governing the presence of
U.S. personnel at PRTs. However, it is understood that some
particulars will need to be individually crafted as the
circumstances of PRTs vary. Specifically, the U.S. may have
a revision regarding self-drive.
Â¶19. (C) In all cases, Vidal said she would take these
discussions back to Madrid.