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Viewing cable 09KABUL941, CODEL TSONGAS: MEETING WITH AFGHAN INTERIOR

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09KABUL941 2009-04-15 13:01 2011-01-27 19:07 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Kabul
VZCZCXRO0414
OO RUEHDBU RUEHPW
DE RUEHBUL #0941/01 1051320
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 151320Z APR 09
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8400
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KABUL 000941 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL MARR PTER AG
SUBJECT: CODEL TSONGAS:  MEETING WITH AFGHAN INTERIOR 
MINISTER ATMAR, APRIL 9, 2009 
 
1. (SBU) Summary:  In an April 9 meeting with CODEL Tso...


202427
2009-04-15
09KABUL941
Embassy Kabul
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KABUL 000941
SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL MARR PTER AG
SUBJECT: CODEL TSONGAS: MEETING WITH AFGHAN
INTERIOR
MINISTER ATMAR, APRIL 9, 2009

1. (SBU) Summary: In an April 9 meeting with CODEL Tsongas,
Interior Minister Atmar praised the U.S. Combined Security
Transition Command-Afghanistan (CSTC-A) for the training it
is providing to the Afghan National Police (ANP) and his
ministry, described the training programs in some detail, and
made a strong appeal for more support on ANP expansion. He
defended his record on anti-corruption by describing major
initiatives he has taken to clean up the police force,
especially its leadership, and to build capacity to go after
high-level corruption (particularly through an envisioned
Major Crimes Task Force (MCTF). Atmar wove the theme of
ANP expansion throughout his long, eloquent presentation. End
Summary.

ATMAR ON POLICE TRAINING AND EXPANSION OF THE ANP

2. (SBU) On April 9, CODEL Tsongas met with Minister Hanif
Atmar at the Interior Ministry (MOI). The Minister expressed
thanks to the United States for dispatching its brave
uniformed military to Afghanistan and for continuing
American support of the Afghan National Police (ANP), often
the only defense against terrorists and criminals. Atmar
said that, under CSTC-A's tutelage, the ANP was engaged in
individual training and institution-building, with the police
receiving a full package, based on the best knowledge for
what they have to do. The three key Afghan security
institutions are the Afghan National Army (ANA), the National
Directorate of Security (NDS) intelligence, and the ANP. The
ANP had not yet achieved the success of the other two but,
with the help of CSTC-A, would do so, Atmar said.

3. (SBU) Atmar briefly described categories of police
training. He singled out the Focused District Development
(FDD) program as the most important training provided by
CSTC-A to the regular Afghan Uniformed Police (AUP). Under
FDD, local police are pulled from their districts for two
months for drug testing, biometrics recording and training in
basic skills. When redeployed, the AUP units were the most
critical element was the Police Mentor Teams (PMT) which
accompanied the police on missions, ensured that the
techniques they learned stuck, and relieved their sense of
isolation. Atmar commented that the ANA only fought when it
was sure it had the ability to do so, Atmar said, but the
regular ANP found they had no choice other than to fight.
Atmar said the Afghan Border Police (ABP) also were training
using the same principles as the AUP. Sixteen thousand ABP
must receive that instruction. The Minister said that the
most sophisticated training, however, went to the elite
Afghan Civil Order Police (ANCOP), which received 4 months of
more intense and varied instruction.

4. (SBU) In addition, Atmar said, the MOI and ANP received
assistance on reforming traditional systems and
institution-building, with an emphasis on rooting out
corruption. Selection of the leadership, which was not
previously based on merit, was under a new system. Atmar
characterized the whole effort as not just training, but
fundamental reform of the entire structure. This effort was
complicated because the ANP was fully occupied fighting
insurgents and eradicating poppy, doing security rather than
law enforcement. And there were insufficient resources to
expand the ANP rapidly in time for the August elections.

5. (SBU) Minister Atmar pitched strongly for ANP expansion.
The ANP, he reiterated, must take a quantum leap forward,
but resources were lacking. Atmar said he received strong
political support and understanding for what he was doing,
such as firing and prosecuting 10 percent of the police
leadership over the last four months, but he needed more
trainers and mentors, as envisioned under President Obama's
Strategic Review to create a bigger police force. The ANP
must be vastly expanded from its current size of 1.3 police
for every 1000 Afghans, a ratio far below other countries
which do not face insurgency, narcotics, and rapidly rising
crime. President Obama, he said, was clear when announcing
the Strategic Review outcomes that he backed expansion of the
Afghanistan National Security Forces (ANSF), but did not
mention specific targets. There was no shortage of
volunteers for the ANP, which showed a measure of popular
trust in the institution, but the Minister said that he
needed international support to expand and train a new NCO
and officer corps.

FIGHTING CORRUPTION

6. (SBU) Referring to an April 8 NY Times article Corruption
Undercuts Hopes for Afghan Police, the CODEL opened a
discussion on that topic. Atmar said he was aware of the
article and that it was ironic that in Ghazni (from where it
was date-lined), he had fired over 60 ANP, officers and
KABUL 00000941 002 OF 003
patrolmen, which had led to a 90 percent drop in reported
corruption. He defended his record by nothing that several
major anti-corruption initiatives were underway within the
MOI. First, he had requested the FBI to build a Major Crimes
Task Force (MCTF) in the MOI which would become
Afghanistan's FBI. The FBI agreed and had begun work, but
support from the CODEL and elsewhere for additional resources
would help. Once the structure is in place, the MCTF targets
would go beyond senior police officers to Afghanistan's
leadership in the Parliament and cabinet. For seven years
there had been much talk about bold steps to go after
high-level corruption, but no resources were available, Atmar
said. His invitation to the FBI was to do this together with
the MOI until MOI could do it alone.

7. (SBU) A second major initiative, Atmar said, was his plan
for a 300 person Afghan MOI inspector general (IG) corps to
enforce accountability on personnel ghosts (police who are
carried on the rolls but not active), weapons, salaries and
performance at the district level. He had asked the
international community to deploy inspectors to train the IG
candidates for this Afghan initiative, including a request he
made to the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan
Reconstruction (SIGAR). He specifically wanted 34
international auditors, one per province, who could monitor
ANP performance and give the public confidence in ANP reform.
There were a number of institutional corruption problems,
but the key, he said, was cleaning up the police leadership.
If that were done there would be no diversion of assets. To
that end, he was requiring top leaders to explain their
assets or risk prosecution. He had provided his own personal
data to the Afghan High Office of Oversight. In addition, he
was strengthening the police intelligence capacity to review
the leadership and also asked the FBI to help with
polygraphing.

8. (SBU) Atmar apologized for explaining his approach on
corruption at such length, but he was dealing with a historic
problem. He had witnessed that when the U.S. and others
originally pressed for reform in the ANA and intelligence
services, anyone fired from those organizations had moved to
the ANP, where the U.S. was not involved at the time. A
blind eye had been turned when the focus was on the Afghan
Army and he was now trying to get rid of people capable of
mobilizing demonstrations if they felt threatened. His
point, he said, was that he was pursing a comprehensive
strategy against corruption to bring about a cultural change,
for which he needed resources.

WOMEN IN THE ANP, ANCOP, AND MORE ON EXPANSION

9. (SBU) CODEL Tsongas pressed on a number of other topics,
such as the role of women in the ANP. Atmar said that there
was culturally already such a role, but he was not yet
training enough women, and needed an aggressive recruitment
and training program for women. He said that he would draw
on the experience of CSTC-A's BG Armstrong, a woman, for this
program. There were 700 women in the ANP in a taskhil of 82
thousand. He then used his chalkboard to outline the whole
organization of the ANP in greater detail Asked about the
ANCOP role, Atmar said they were gendarmerie-like police,
charged with handling civil unrest (while the AUP handled
community-level policing). ANCOP's special role was in the
FDD program. When AUP police were overwhelmed and in need of
training, ANCOP substituted for them in the districts while
the AUP went through the FDD program. He explained that in
rural areas, the ANA was often not present, so there the ANP
was used almost entirely for security, not law enforcement.

10. (SBU) Atmar turned the conversation back to ANP
expansion, estimating that he needed roughly a doubling of
the ANP in two years, preferably one, to fight a brutal enemy
and simultaneously reform the police and ministry. He
illustrated the brutality of the enemy by recounting the
story of how early in 2009 young girls had had acid sprayed
in their faces while walking to school. He asserted that
this was the work of a Pakistan army major who had paid
assailants USD 2000 for every girl sprayed. Taliban crossing
from Pakistan were armed with heavy machine guns, which made
the ANP sitting ducks. He acknowledged that he was
training soldiers, not police in the traditional sense, but
that was necessary under the circumstances. The equipment
provided by the U.S. was welcome, and indeed, for the first
time ever the Aghanistan people welcomed foreign troops, not
simply because the Taliban were so bad, but because the
values shown by American soldiers were admirable. The U.S.
had provided eight major training centers, and there were
other sites around the country, including a police academy in
Kabul,but still more help was required. His dream project,
he said, was to staff the academy with U.S. trainers as
faculty members, including women officers.
KABUL 00000941 003 OF 003

WHO ELSE IS HELPING ON POLICE TRAINING?

11. (SBU) Asked which other countries could or were helping
with police training, Atmar rattled off an answer. France
was particularly good, but its offer was small. Italy was a
relatively large contributor (a distant second after the
U.S.) with its carbinieri trainers. Canada was small and
centered on Kandahar. The U.K. focused more on
counter-narcotics. The Dutch were good, but too few in
numbers. Germany was a fantastic contributor to many
aspects of the ANP, but also too small a contingent. From
Islamic neighboring nations only money was needed. The
picture was captured when you considered that of the 55 FDD
districts, all were partnered by the U.S. except 4-5 by other
nations. Atmar concluded by saying increasing the size of
the ANP before elections was pressing. Afghans are willing
to join the ANP as soldiers, gendarmerie, or community
police, but the money, training spaces, and trainers are not
yet available. When Congressman said a constituent in
Duchess County who had lost a brother on his third tour of
service had urged him to make it worth it, Atmar said that
was absolutely right. Every night, he said, he looked at the
ANP losses and felt an ethical responsibility to build a
prepared and reformed ANP. This was a winnable goal if the
right decisions were made.

12. (U) Participants: Minister Atmar was accompanied to this
meeting by his Chief of Staff, Mr. Wayand, and a military
aide. On the U.S. side, Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-MA), Rep. John
Hall (D-NY), Rep. Larry Kissell (D-NC), Rep. Jared Polis
(D-CO), Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT),
Staff members Bob DeGrasse and Josh Holly, CDA Ambassador
Frank Ricciardone, CSTC-A BG Anne Macdonald, and Embassy
POL-MIL Counselor Bob Clarke participated.

13. (U) CODEL Tsongas did not review this cable before
departure.

RICCIARDONE