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|09MOSCOW819||2009-04-01 12:54||2011-08-30 01:44||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Moscow|
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
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 000819
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
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 �
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.
¶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.