06MOSCOW11773, A/S BOUCHER HEARS RUSSIAN WORRIES ABOUT AFGHANISTAN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW11773 2006-10-19 15:05 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0016
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #1773/01 2921505
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 191505Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4240
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 1943
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 0428
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 1062
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA PRIORITY 0414

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 011773 
 
SIPDIS 
CORRECTED COPY - PARAGRAPH MARKING AND DISTRIBUTION 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/19/2016 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER SNAR ENRG XD ZK RS
SUBJECT: A/S BOUCHER HEARS RUSSIAN WORRIES ABOUT AFGHANISTAN 
 
REF: MOSCOW 11241 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns.  Reasons: 1.4 (b, d). 
 
1.  (C)  Summary:  During October 9 consultations in Moscow, 
A/S Boucher outlined U.S. intentions in Central Asia, 
stressed steps we were taking to address terrorism and 
narcotics trafficking in Afghanistan, and reviewed U.S. 
nuclear policies in South Asia.  Foreign Ministry officials 
and the Russian Counternarcotics Director expressed growing 
concerns about Afghanistan and the threat that terrorists and 
drug traffickers posed to Russian security interests. 
Foreign Ministry officials emphasized that Russia had no 
monopoly of interests in Central Asia, but called for greater 
transparency in U.S. goals in the region.  A/S Boucher 
briefed on U.S. support for regional economic integration and 
civil society in Central Asia, eliciting Russian concerns 
that too much pressure to change Central Asian states might 
backfire.  Russian officials expressed an interest in 
increasing cooperation on counterterrorism and 
counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan and Central Asia. 
Russia is likely to support the India Civil-Nuclear 
Initiative in the Nuclear Suppliers Group.  End Summary. 
. 
2.(C)  Assistant Secretary Richard Boucher and Ambassador Burns 
met separately on October 9 with Deputy Foreign Minister 
Aleksandr Alekseyev and Deputy Foreign Minister Grigoriy 
Karasin and had a working lunch with both, joined by 3rd CIS 
Department (Central Asia) Director Maksim Peshkov.  Boucher 
also met with Presidential Counterterrorism Special 
Representative Anatoliy Safonov and Director of the Federal 
Narcotics Control Service Viktor Cherkesov. 
. 
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING TRANSPARENT 
----------------------------------- 
 
3.  (C)  A/S Boucher made clear what U.S. intentions were in 
Central and South Asia and underlined the value of 
transparency in U.S.-Russian relations.  The U.S. did not see 
itself in competition with Russia; Washington had made this 
clear to regional leaders.  U.S. goals were to strengthen 
states so that they could be sovereign and independent, to 
support the growth of civil society, democracy, and 
prosperity and to foster long-term stability.  Deputy Foreign 
Minister Karasin said Russia considered Central Asia as a 
sphere of vital interest and that Moscow also sought 
transparency and an understanding of U.S. intentions because 
of the effect on stability in the region.  Karasin pointed to 
Russia's proximity, longstanding political and economic ties 
with Central Asia and the presence of millions of Russians in 
the region.  He called for greater joint efforts to create a 
"new spirit" of cooperation.  Boucher and Alekseyev discussed 
Russian attitudes toward the regional counternarcotics 
conference held in May in Dushanbe and Boucher highlighted 
the negative role that disinformation campaigns played in the 
region. 
. 
AFGHANISTAN:  GROWING RUSSIAN CONCERN 
------------------------------------- 
 
4.  (C)  A/S Boucher reviewed U.S. and Coalition efforts to 
increase stability in Afghanistan by fighting terrorism, 
countering the production and trafficking of narcotics, and 
supporting the Karzai government's efforts to extend central 
government rule over the country through road-building and 
electrification projects.  Boucher stressed U.S. support for 
Karzai, but acknowledged that corruption complicated 
stability efforts.  He called for greater Russian support to 
strengthen the Afghan military and counternarcotics programs. 
 Boucher also reviewed U.S. efforts to encourage closer 
cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan to police the 
border and stop the transit of armed militants. 
 
 
5.  (C)  All of A/S Boucher's interlocutors expressed serious 
concerns about negative trends in Afghanistan and offered 
Russian support for U.S. efforts.  Deputy Foreign Minister 
Alekseyev noted that the sharp rise in Taliban strength had 
surprised the Russians and he drew attention to growing 
anti-American sentiments in Afghanistan.  Arguing that 
increased instability in Afghanistan would have serious 
negative consequences for Russian security, Alekseyev offered 
that Moscow could sell arms to the Afghan Army at subsidized 
prices and promised to review A/S Boucher's request for 
renewed support to the Afghan Air Force.  Special 
Representative Safonov questioned whether Karzai was building 
a strong team that would be able to take over efforts to 
centralize power once Karzai was gone.  Both Safonov and 
Director Cherkesov emphasized the link between drug money and 
terrorist activities in Afghanistan. 
. 
CENTRAL ASIA:  WHAT DOES STABILITY MEAN? 
---------------------------------------- 
 
6.  (C)  A/S Boucher explained that U.S. efforts in Central 
Asia to support civil society and to encourage regional 
integration were aimed at building stable, prosperous states. 
 U.S. goals were to provide economic and political choices 
for countries in the region; we shared interests with Russia, 
the EU and China in countering terrorism, proliferation and 
narcotics trafficking.  The U.S. was not opposed to regional 
organizations like the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, so 
long as they do not target U.S. interests, and we support 
transparent efforts to encourage economic cooperation and 
trade.  The U.S. had limited military training programs in 
the region and was not interested in new military bases. 
Boucher singled out President Karimov's repressive actions as 
aggravating the real security challenges his regime faces. 
Widespread corruption throughout Central Asia fueled popular 
discontent and spurred terrorist recruitment and drug 
trafficking.  The U.S. was focused on practical, incremental 
steps that would propel Central Asian states in a forward 
direction.  Leadership succession should be open and 
inclusive; the key question was not necessarily who would 
rule, but how citizens were involved in the selection process. 
 
7.  (C)  Deputy Foreign Minister Karasin stressed that Russia 
did not have a "monopoly" on interests in Central Asia. 
Moscow's goals were to strengthen sovereignty so that states 
could make their own decisions "based on responsible 
thinking."  Karasin was extremely cautious about political 
change in the region, noting that legal opposition in each 
country was limited or nonexistent and that there was some 
overlap between opposition groups and extremist groups. 
Reforms were implemented slowly, if at all, and many regimes 
faced challenges from corruption, narcotics trafficking, and 
 
Islamist groups such as Hizb ut-Tahrir.  Russia worked 
through regional organizations to address these challenges. 
Moscow wanted stable, peaceful neighbors and saw a "drastic 
rush to new arrangements in a society" as dangerous. 
Director Peshkov stressed that Central Asia's traditional 
societies and leadership structures would not change 
overnight and argued that pushing too hard would cause a 
backlash.  Russian interlocutors were concerned that 
leadership succession in Central Asia would be painful, 
warning that the perfect should not become the enemy of the 
good. 
. 
CENTRAL ASIA:  ECONOMIC INTEGRATION 
----------------------------------- 
 
8.  (C)  A/S Boucher laid out U.S. goals in encouraging 
regional integration, pointing to the benefits for Central 
Asia.  Afghanistan had long been a barrier between Central 
Asia and South Asia; the opening of Afghanistan was a 
historic and strategic change that now permitted north-south 
flows for energy, trade and transport that would promote 
links between Central Asia and the rest of the world. 
Boucher encouraged Russian support for Caspian Pipeline 
Consortium (CPC) expansion to allow multiple routes to bring 
Central Asian oil and gas resources to world markets.  He 
denounced attempts to block infrastructure links between 
South and Central Asia.  None of Boucher's interlocutors 
addressed economic integration in any detail; Karasin 
reaffirmed Russian support for ties between Central Asia and 
the rest of the world, but underlined the strong links 
remaining between Moscow and the region, in particular as a 
result of the Russian diaspora in Central Asia.  Alekseyev 
stressed China's growing regional interests, noting that its 
economic strength allowed it to pursue a more "muscular 
approach," and pointed to the interconnections between 
Beijing's security and energy needs. 
. 
COUNTERTERRORISM 
---------------- 
 
9.  (C)  All A/S Boucher's interlocutors in Moscow focused on 
the challenges to Russian security posed by the Taliban's 
resurgence and Hizb ut-Tahrir in Central Asia.  After the 
Assistant Secretary briefed on U.S. efforts to counter 
terrorist activities in Afghanistan and the challenges 
President Musharraf faced in addressing terrorism, Alekseyev 
responded that Russian cooperation with Pakistan on 
counterterrorism was limited.  It was unclear to Moscow how 
much control, if any, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) 
exercised over terrorist training.  Safonov called attention 
to the sharing of methods and technology between Iraqi 
insurgents and Afghan terrorists and noted that the fight in 
Afghanistan was shifting to urban areas.  He called for 
greater cooperation with the U.S. in counterterrorism efforts 
in Afghanistan and welcomed the increasing contacts he had 
with S/CT Ambassador Crumpton.  Safonov highlighted the 
growth throughout the Islamic world of terrorist networks 
only loosely tied to Al Qaeda.  Karasin, Peshkov and Safonov 
called attention to Hizb ut-Tahrir, arguing that its 
above-board political activities masked growing support among 
local populations for its extremist plans.  A/S Boucher 
refuted suggestions that the U.S. had contacts with groups 
like the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. 
. 
COUNTERNARCOTICS 
---------------- 
 
10.  (C)  A/S Boucher described shifting U.S. 
counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan and support for the 
Tajik Drug Control Agency and the Central Asia Regional 
Information Coordination Center in Almaty.  He emphasized 
that counternarcotics cooperation should increase given 
shared U.S. and Russian goals.  Alekseyev was critical of 
counternarcotics programs in Afghanistan, pointing to the 
flood of heroin into Russia.  He contrasted the excellent 
cooperation Moscow had with Tehran with what he characterized 
as a failing effort on Tajikistan's part.  A/S Boucher 
stressed the progress we had seen in Dushanbe as a result of 
increased U.S. funding.  Director Cherkesov briefed on the 
Kanal counternarcotics operation that has traditionally 
focused on Central Asia, but for the first time included 
Poland, Finland, Latvia and Lithuania.  He acknowledged that 
Central Asian drug control agencies often had been 
ineffective, but underlined his support for U.S. assistance 
in Afghanistan and Central Asia.  A/S Boucher pointed to 
Pakistan and Turkey as models for a long-term approach to 
control production and trafficking of narcotics.  Cherkesov 
and Safonov stressed the links between narcotics trafficking 
and terrorism, and Cherkesov promised a Russian 
counternarcotics office would be opened in Kabul by next 
year. 
. 
INDIA AND PAKISTAN 
------------------ 
 
11.  (C)  Responding to A/S Boucher's request, Alekseyev 
confirmed Russian support for the India Civil-Nuclear 
Initiative in the Nuclear Suppliers Group "so long as the 
U.S. keeps the deal transparent."  However, Alekseyev made 
clear that Russia would not get out in front in selling other 
Nuclear Suppliers Group members on the initiative.  Moscow 
was looking to coordinate views with the U.S.  He 
acknowledged that Moscow had been approached by Islamabad 
about supporting a simila
r arrangement for Pakistan and that 
Russia had been asked to build nuclear plants in Pakistan, 
but stressed Moscow did not view the situations in India and 
Pakistan as similar and would not supply Islamabad with 
nuclear plants. 
 
12.  (C)  Alekseyev and Safonov both expressed concerns about 
Pakistan's stability.  Alekseyev emphasized Russian worries 
about the safety and security of Pakistan's nuclear weapons 
stockpile as well as growing separatist tensions and popular 
discontent.  FM Lavrov was likely to visit Islamabad before 
the end of the year.  Safonov focused on whether Musharraf 
was prepared to fight terrorist elements in Afghanistan, 
pointing to the North Waziristan agreement as casting doubt 
on Pakistan's commitment.  A/S Boucher acknowledged Musharraf 
faced multiple challenges and stressed that the U.S. had 
urged Musharraf to address all stripes of terrorists in 
Pakistan as part of Islamabad's efforts to build a modern 
society. 
BURNS

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