09MOSCOW819, AFGHAN FM SPANTA ON RUSSIA, PAKISTAN AND ELECTIONS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MOSCOW819 2009-04-01 12:54 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO6359
PP RUEHDBU RUEHPW
DE RUEHMO #0819/01 0911254
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 011254Z APR 09
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2652
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 000819 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/01/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PTER AF PK RS
SUBJECT: AFGHAN FM SPANTA ON RUSSIA, PAKISTAN AND ELECTIONS 
 
Classified By: Political M/C Alice G. Wells for reasons 1.4 (b/d). 
 
1. (C) Summary: In a March 27 meeting with SCA DAS Moon, 
Afghan Foreign Minister Spanta, who was in Moscow to attend 
the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Conference on 
Afghanistan, expressed concern with the proposal made by the 
organization to establish a "security belt" around 
Afghanistan, which he considered a ploy to extend Russian 
influence in the region.  Reconciling with Russia would be 
difficult for Afghans, but Spanta welcomed Russian interest 
in reconstructing Afghan infrastructure as a first step. 
Spanta warned that the "deep state," and not the elected 
government, controlled the situation in Pakistan, and urged 
the U.S to help bring the Pakistani military and ISI under 
effective civilian control.  Spanta predicted that Chief 
Justice Azimi would soon suggest a constitutional solution to 
continuing the Karzai government beyond May 21, and warmly 
welcomed the U.S. decision to open consulates in Herat and 
Mazar-e Sharif.  End summary. 
 
Security Belt Implies Russian Influence 
--------------------------------------- 
 
2. (C) During a March 27 meeting held before the opening of 
the Russian-hosted SCO Conference on Afghanistan, SCA DAS 
Moon explained to Afghan FM Spanta that the U.S. objective in 
attending the conference was to demonstrate support for 
international efforts to assist Afghanistan (septel).  Spanta 
raised Afghan concern with the SCO proposal to establish a 
"security belt" around Afghanistan, which was included in the 
draft declaration to be signed by conference attendees.  The 
"main intent" of this concept was the "reconstruction" of 
Russian influence in Central Asia, which was not in the 
interests of Afghanistan, its neighbors, or the U.S, in 
Spanta's estimation.  Moon agreed that the term should not be 
included in the conference declaration and committed to seek 
its deletion.  Spanta asked Moon to support the Afghan 
position that language on anti-corruption measures should not 
be included in the declaration as well.  Constructive 
criticism was helpful, but Spanta feared that some countries 
might use such language in less helpful ways.  Moon said the 
U.S was working to remove the language. 
 
3. (C) Spanta explained that it was difficult for Afghans to 
consider full engagement with Russia, a country with which 
"real reconciliation" would be difficult because of all the 
"death and destruction" caused during the Soviet era.  He 
thought that the prospect of Russian involvement in the 
reconstruction of the Salang Tunnel offered a good beginning 
for cooperation, and hoped Moscow would finance the project 
(septel). 
 
U.S. Must Address the "Deep State" in Pakistan 
--------------------------------------------- - 
 
4. (C) Spanta said that Afghanistan enjoyed "good relations" 
with the civilian government of Pakistan, but warned that the 
"deep state" and not the government made the real decisions. 
The civilian government had democratic support, but this was 
not identical to institutional support.  He asked that 
Afghanistan's friends in Washington show caution in their 
dealings with Islamabad, and understand that while it was 
important to address the "social problems" that fueled 
terrorism in the region, the Taliban remained under the 
protection of the Pakistani military and ISI in the tribal 
areas.  He advised assisting Pakistan's democratic government 
in bringing these "parallel institutions" under control.  If 
not, the U.S. would repeat the mistake of spending what 
Spanta estimated at $11 billion in support of Musharraf, with 
little impact upon the terrorists. 
 
5. (C) Moon responded that the U.S. and Pakistan had an open 
relationship that relied upon such candor.  He assured Spanta 
that the U.S. was working with the Pakistani military to 
strengthen its support for the civilian government.  The U.S. 
would also continue the tri-lateral process of bringing 
together Afghanistan and Pakistan to address common security 
concerns.  Spanta said that he hoped the Turkish-led 
trilateral process would also enhance regional cooperation, 
and he looked forward to the April 1 meeting that would 
include political, military, and intelligence agency leaders 
from Kabul, Islamabad, and Ankara. 
 
Afghan Presidential Election 
---------------------------- 
 
MOSCOW 00000819  002 OF 002 
 
 
 
6. (C) Spanta said that the Afghan government understood that 
the success of the presidential election was of paramount 
importance, and ensuring continuity and stability during the 
interim government that would serve from May 21 to August 20 
would be a key task.  Karzai was attempting to work with 
Parliament to devise a solution and avoid a political vacuum 
during this period.  The "fragmentation of the political &#x00
0A;class" has always been a problem in Afghanistan, according to 
Spanta, who hoped the Supreme Court Chief Justice would 
identify a constitutional solution for the Karzai government 
to remain in place from May 22 through the election process. 
Moon responded that the U.S. was encouraged by the consensus 
reached on the August 20 election date, which suggested that 
agreement could be reached in Kabul on an interim government. 
 
U.S. Consulates/Ambassador 
-------------------------- 
 
7. (C) Spanta praised the U.S. decision to open consulates at 
Herat and Mazar-e Sharif as a positive gesture that would 
allow the U.S. a greater institutional presence outside 
Kabul.  Spanta said that he knew of no objections to the 
naming of Karl Eikenberry, "a good friend of Afghanistan and 
a good choice," as the new U.S. Ambassador. 
 
8. (U) DAS Moon has cleared this cable. 
BEYRLE

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