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Viewing cable 10KABUL102, Semi-annual Assessment for Badghis Province: July -

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10KABUL102 2010-01-12 10:10 2011-01-28 16:04 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Kabul
DE RUEHBUL #0102/01 0121038
R 121038Z JAN 10
Embassy Kabul



E.O. 12958: N/A 
SUBJECT: Semi-annual Assessment for Badghis Province: July - 
December 2009 

REF: (A) Kabul 1345 (B) Kabul 717 

1. This is a Semi-annual assessment of Badghis Province. 

2. (SBU) Summary. July - December 2009. Security in Badghis 
Province continued to deteriorate, as insurgents stepped up attacks 
on military convoys on main roads and overran several police 
checkpoints. Insurgents control large areas of Bala Murghab, Moqur, 
and Qades Districts. ANSF and coalition forces successfully 
regained control of the main route to Herat and a projected force 
increase should improve the situation in the long-term. Largely 
because of the security problems, the provincial government is not 
able to operate effectively outside of Qala-e-Now and its immediate 
surroundings. Low capacity and corruption further limit the 
government's ability to serve the needs of the population. One of 
the poorest provinces in Afghanistan, Badghis has development 
priorities that include potable water, irrigation, electricity and 
roads. There are no asphalted roads in the province, which contains 
the longest remaining section of the Ring Road yet to be been 
contracted for construction. In the next six months, the PRT's 
efforts will focus on improving security and development in Moqur 
and Qades districts, which occupy strategic positions close to 
Qala-e-Now. End summary. 


Small Improvements near Qala-e-Now Offset by Increased Insecurity on 

3. (SBU) In the past six months, security in Badghis continued to 
deteriorate. ANSF and coalition forces successfully fought back 
against increased criminal and insurgent activity in Sabzak Pass, 
which lies south of Qala-e-Now on Badghis' primary transportation 
link to Herat. The route, which had become unsafe for provincial 
government officials to travel, is now back in GIRoA control. 
However, this success was offset by increased insecurity on Route 
Lithium, which runs from Qala-e-Now through the Sang Atesh area of 
Moqur district and up to Bala Murghab. Several police checkpoints 
on the route were attacked and overrun, although a police presence 
has been reestablished at all but one. 

Insurgency Focused in Moqur, Qades and Bala Murghab Districts 

4. (SBU) Only a few kilometers from Qala-e-Now, Moqur district is 
strategically located in the center of the province. Insurgents 
control approximately 50 percent of the district and the resulting 
insecurity has spilled over into the northern part of Qades district 
and has largely cut off access between Qala-e-Now and the mostly 
insurgent-free and pro-GIRoA district of Jawand in the east. Ethnic 
tensions between the Pashtun and non-Pashtun communities have fueled 
the conflict. In February, a prominent non-Pashtun was assassinated 
in Moqur together with some members of his family. Several Pashtuns 
were killed in retaliatory attacks, including, in September, a 
prominent Pashtun leader. In October, elders from Pashtun and 
non-Pashtun communities in Moqur negotiated a settlement agreement. 
A new American Forward Operating Base has improved security in the 
district center. However, attacks along the route from Qala-e-Now 
to the district center increased in November and December. 

5. (SBU) Daribum, in northern Qades district, is a center of 
insurgent activity and opium growing in the province. Opium 
production in Badghis increased by 922% in 2009 over 2008 (from 587 
to 5,411 hectares) due in part to favorable weather conditions. 
There is no provincial eradication program. In October, a joint 
Afghan-American counternarcotics operation destroyed an opium 
production facility in Daribum. A helicopter involved in the 
operation crashed, killing ten Americans. Although insurgent 
activity is concentrated in the north of the district, it 
occasionally threatens the district center. In December, insurgents 
took control of the town of Langar and its police checkpoint only 
seven kilometers north of Qades center. ANSF and local Tajik 
militia took back the town the following day. 

6. (U) Bala Murghab district in the north remains almost entirely 
controlled by the insurgency, other than a small area under GIRoA 
and coalition control in Bala Murghab center (see Reftel B). In 
November, two American soldiers drowned in the Bala Murghab River. 
The operation to recover their bodies provoked attacks by 
insurgents. Seven ANSF and approximately ten insurgents died in the 
fighting, until a ceasefire was negotiated to permit the search to 
continue. The 4/82nd and the PRT are supporting several 
reconstruction and development projects in the district center. 

Increased Security Forces Offer Long-Term Hope 

KABUL 00000102 002 OF 004 

7. (SBU) The imminent arrival of additional ANSF and coalition 
forces should have a positive impact on security. In December, U.S. 
Special Forces began deployment of a Marine Special Operations 
Command unit in Bala Murghab. Also in December, Spain announced 
that it would send an additional 500 troops to Afghanistan, most of 
who will be positioned in Badghis. Although plans are not yet 
final, it is expected that the additional troops will likely train 
and mentor ANSF as their primary mission. An additional ANA brigade 
may also be assigned to the province. A Focused District 
Development (FDD) training program for ANP is underway for Moqur 
district and is scheduled for Qala-e-Naw and Qades. The Badghis ANP 
Chief, General Sami, plans to undertake additional hiring campaigns 
to support the FDD programs once the current ANP hiring freeze is 

Corrupt and Untrained, Provincial Government Doesn't Deliver 

8. (SBU) Governance in Badghis is hampered by corruption and a 
lack of capable personnel. There is no university or higher 
education in the province, with the exception of a teacher's 
training college. Badghis' isolation and poverty make it difficult 
to attract qualified staff from outside. The provincial government 
is dominated almost completely by non-Pashtuns primarily from 
Qala-e-Now, Ab Kamari and Qadis districts, where there is a longer 
tradition of education and governance. The lack of Pashtuns in the 
government reduces its effectiveness and outreach in insecure 
districts such as Bala Murghab and Moqur, where there are large 
Pashtun populations. An important positive step for governance has 
been the opening of a Civil Service Training Center in Badghis from 
a partnership between the Afghanistan Independent Administrative 
Reform and Civil Service Commission, USAID and the Spanish 
development agency, AECID. Now conducting its second six-month 
training course, the Center will have trained 240 students from a 
variety of provincial directorates in basic English, computer usage 
and management. 

9. (SBU) In July 2009, a case initiated by the Anti-Corruption 
Unit of the Attorney General's Office involving corruption charges 
against former Governor Naseri and 15 other individuals (see Reftel 
A) was suspended apparently for political motives. However, the 
Attorney General continues to pursue the case in Kabul, including 
bringing Governor Nasery in for questioning in December. In October 
2009, UNAMA received reliable reports that the provincial 
prosecutor's office and the chief of the provincial court were 
colluding to dismiss the charges entirely. Although Naseri was 
recently questioned by the Afghan Attorney General's office, most 
people in Badghis believe that political pressure from President 
Karzai will sink the case. 

10. (U) The Provincial Court was recently strengthened by the 
assignment of ten new judges. However, due to the security 
situation, there are no judges working in Bala Murghab and only a 
part-time judge assigned to Moqur. Two judges assigned to work in 
Qades district have refused to go to the district, citing 
insecurity. The Chief of the Provincial Court has requested that 
the Supreme Court assign another, more experienced judge to the 

Mixed Leadership at the Top 

11. (SBU) Governor Delbar Jan Arman was transferred to Badghis in 
March 2009. He has shown himself to be an active leader, visiting 
more districts than his predecessor and reaching out to local 
leaders to resolve issues. Arman, a Pashtun from Khost, was 
involved in the successful reconciliation efforts between the Tajik 
and Pashtun communities in Moqur district. The sub-governor, Amir 
Ghani Saberi, is a Tajik from the Qadis district. Well-connected in 
the province, he is willing to visit districts and increase 
government visibility. However, his strong local ties limit his 
ability to serve as a neutral arbiter in ethnic disputes. 

12. (SBU) The former Provincial Council was largely inactive. All 
but three failed to win reelection in August 2009. The new Council, 
not yet sworn in, has no Pashtun members even though Pashtuns 
comprise about 40% of the population. (A Pashtun came in second in 
the preliminary results; however, many of the votes he received were 
later disqualified for fraud.) Four of the nine council members 
hail from Jawand district, although the population of that district 
is only one-sixth of the population of Badghis. 

13. (SBU) In the presidential elections, Dr. Abdullah carried 
Badghis province by more than two-to-one over President Karzai. In 
the predominantly non-Pashtun districts of Qala-e-Naw, Qadis, Ab 

KABUL 00000102 003 OF 004 

Kamari and Jawand, voters cast their ballots in overwhelming numbers 
for Dr. Abdullah. In ethnically-divided Moqur district, the turnout 
was low and a majority of those participating voted for President 
Karzai. Only eight polling centers opened in Bala Murghab, where 
Karzai won overwhelmingly. The number of votes cast in Bala Murghab 
did not square with the State PRT representatives on-the-ground 
observations, suggesting ballot box stuffing may have occurred. The 
complete lack of national or international observers in Jawand, 
coupled with the lack of ANSF personnel at many of its 37 polling 
centers, also made those results suspect. The IEC recounted 13 
ballot boxes from Bala Murghab, Ab Kamari, Jawand and Qades, 
resulting in changes to the final tally, including the elimination 
of one Provincial Council candidate from the list of winners. 


14. (U) One of the poorest provinces in Afghanistan, Badghis has 
development priorities that include potable water, water storage and 
irrigation systems, electricity and completion of the Ring Road. 
Although the Bala Murghab district in the north is supplied year 
round with water from the Bala Murghab River, the south of the 
province suffers from a shortage of water and has limited 
infrastructure to collect rain and snowmelt for use in the arid 
summer months. Qala-e-Now city and Jawand center are the only two 
places in Badghis with an electricity grid. Electricity in 
Qala-e-Now is supplied by diesel generators. The Asian Development 
Bank is currently considering funding a proposal to build a 
30-kilometer electrical transmission line from Turkmenistan to 
Qala-e-Now; however, the high cost of the project versus the small 
number of people benefited may make it unfeasible. 

15. (SBU) Completing the Ring Road is critical to the economic 
development and security of Badghis and has implications for 
inter-regional trade. Construction in the north reaching to Bala 
Murghab stalled in the Gormach district of Faryab (formerly a 
district of Badghis) due to security problems. In early November, 
the Asian Development Bank (ADB) fired the contractor for 
nonperformance. The longest stretch of the Ring Road in the 
province, from south of Qala-e-Now to Bala Murghab, has yet to be 
contracted for construction. The proposed route would run through 
the Bala Murghab valley, where most of the population lives but 
which is largely insurgent-controlled. The ADB is discussing with 
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) the possibility of sole 
sourcing the construction of this last stretch (as well as the 
uncompleted portion in Faryab). The ADB/USACE project is estimated 
to cost approximately $340 million and may take up to four years to 
complete, given the rough terrain and security problems along much 
of the route. 

16. (U) USAID's Local Government and Community Development (LGCD) 
program began operations in the province in November. The 
implementer, DAI, has already established an office in Qala-e-Now 
and is identifying projects in Moqur, Qades and Bala Murghab 
districts. USAID has also increased its programming presence in 
Badghis over the past six months, starting major wheat seed 
distribution, agricultural supply-chain improvements, large-scale 
cash-for-work programs and instituting the Afghan Civilian 
Assistance Program (Leahy Program). These programs will continue 
well into this year, with a special emphasis on Muqor and Qades 
RHTQwsQfjQQQocuments to al-Hol, and we have advocated for 
them to be left alone pending another option like 
resettlement, Dubini explained. 

6. (C) Vice Foreign Minister Faisal al-Miqdad praised the 
closure of al-Tanf camp in a January 9 meeting with Staffdel 
Marcus (reftel), and told us he was supportive of efforts to 
resettle the Palestinian refugees to third countries. 
However, he said the SARG was wary of Iraqi Palestinian 
refugees who had blended into cities like Damascus. Miqdad 
related that the SARG must be careful not to appear too 
welcoming of the remaining Iraqi Palestinians in Syria for 
fear of attracting Palestinians still living in Baghdad. 
There are over 10,000 Palestinians still sitting in Baghdad, 
and they are watching to see what we do, he said. Having 
successfully closed al-Tanf, Miqdad added the SARG did not 
want to do anything that might attract additional Palestinian 

7. (C) Miqdad stressed the SARG is not interested in another 
wave of Palestinian refugees from Iraq given the nearly 
500,000 Palestinian refugees already living in Syria. He 
added, however, that the SARG would not force them back and 
would seek a humanitarian solution. Miqdad harshly 
criticized the Iraqi government for not doing enough to 
assist Iraqi refugees, and stated the SARG is waiting for 
upcoming Iraqi parliamentary elections to send a big signal 
that change and reconciliation would come to Iraq, allowing 

KABUL 00000102 004.2 OF 004 

presence. The PRT's strategy for the medium-term focuses on the 
Moqur and Qades districts, bringing quick impact projects 
(particularly through the LGCD program) and identifying more 
long-term development opportunities. In addition, the PRT is 
working with the ANSF to reinforce security outposts in key sites, 
such as Langar in Qades district. Increased government services and 
better security in these ethnically-mixed districts can offer their 
Pashtun communities a viable alternative to the Taliban. A 
long-term objective is to pursue development and governance projects 
in Bala Murghab district as the security situation there stabilizes. 
However, presently there are insufficient security forces in the 
province to control this isolated valley. End Comment.