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Viewing cable 07ISLAMABAD256, MUSHARRAF TELLS BOUCHER ABOUT PAKISTAN’S PLANS FOR

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07ISLAMABAD256 2007-01-17 06:06 2010-11-30 21:09 SECRET Embassy Islamabad
VZCZCXRO9574
PP RUEHDBU RUEHLH RUEHPW
DE RUEHIL #0256/01 0170641
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 170641Z JAN 07
FM AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6196
INFO RUEHTA/AMEMBASSY ALMATY PRIORITY 9793
RUEHAH/AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT PRIORITY 1719
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 4879
RUEHEK/AMEMBASSY BISHKEK PRIORITY 3977
RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO PRIORITY 1111
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA PRIORITY 1882
RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE PRIORITY
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 6679
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 0078
RUEHNT/AMEMBASSY TASHKENT PRIORITY 2438
RUEHKP/AMCONSUL KARACHI PRIORITY 4188
RUEHLH/AMCONSUL LAHORE PRIORITY 1107
RUEHPW/AMCONSUL PESHAWAR PRIORITY 9386
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
Wednesday, 17 January 2007, 06:41
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 04 ISLAMABAD 000256 
SIPDIS 
SIPDIS 
EO 12958 DECL: 01/13/2016 
TAGS EAID, MOPS, PK, PREL, PTER 
SUBJECT: MUSHARRAF TELLS BOUCHER ABOUT PAKISTAN’S PLANS FOR 
BORDER SECURITY
Classified By: Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
1. (S) Summary and introduction: In his January 12 meeting with Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher, Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf spoke of irritants in Pakistan’s relationship with Afghanistan and Pakistan’s tactical adjustments to enhance security in the border region. Musharraf described tougher procedures for border crossing, selective fencing and mining of the border region, stronger leadership for local police and plans to close Afghan refugee camps. He also underscored that tribal leaders in North Waziristan have been given a month to improve implementation of the September 2006 agreement or face possible military action. Boucher and Lieutenant General Eikenberry briefed the President on their impression of Afghanistan’s readiness to face a strong offensive by the Taliban in the spring, noting that President Karzai is a stronger and more confident leader than only a year ago. Boucher reaffirmed U.S. support for Pakistan’s development plans for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and offered assistance as the Pakistani and Afghan Jirga Planning Commissions begin to coordinate. Following the 45 minute meeting with the full American delegation reported here, President Musharraf spoke privately for another 45-minutes with Boucher and Ambassador Crocker. End summary.
2. (C) Meeting Participants:
U.S.
Assistant Secretary Richard A. Boucher, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry, Commander, Combined Forces Command - Afghanistan Major General Ronald Helmly, Defense Representative to Pakistan Ms. Caitlin Hayden, Senior Advisor, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Embassy notetaker
Pakistan
President Pervez Musharraf Lieutenant General Hamid Javaid, Chief of Staff Additional Secretary Shahid Kamal, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Major General Shafqaat Ahmed, Deputy Chief of Staff
Afghanistan -- Rhetoric and Bugti
3. (C) President Musharraf decried the heated rhetoric emanating from Afghan officials over the past month. Public accusations that al Qaeda and Taliban figures are operating in our border regions are perhaps understandable, Musharraf said, but it is completely unacceptable for Afghan officials to accuse the Government of Pakistan and Inter Services Intelligence of collusion with the enemy. Warming to his topic, Musharraf described Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz’s January 4 visit to Kabul as a bad meeting, saying that President Karzai bombarded the Pakistani delegation with outlandish accusations that Pakistan seeks to enslave the Afghans to achieve strategic depth. This is nonsense, Musharraf concluded; to the contrary, Pakistan wants good relations with the Afghan government and with all communities in Afghanistan. Pakistani officials and diplomats are under his personnel instructions not to interfere in Afghanistan’s affairs. Boucher advised the President that U.S. officials have noted the aggravated level of cross-border rhetoric and have counseled Afghan interlocutors not to air their grievance in public. All must appreciate the need to address issues responsibly and, when appropriate, privately.
4. (C) Musharraf told Boucher that militant Baloch nationalist and fugitive Brahamdagh Bugti remains at large in Afghanistan, enjoying freedom of movement to commute between Kabul and Kandahar, raising money and planning operations against Pakistani security forces. Boucher said that he had raised Bugti’s presence in Afghanistan with President Karzai, who offered assurances that nobody would be allowed to use Afghanistan as a staging ground for terrorist attacks on Pakistan. Musharraf had a simple response: “That’s bullshit.”
Afghanistan -- Channels of Communication
5. (C) Boucher noted the growth in channels of communication between Kabul and Islamabad, commending the exchange of information that occurs within the military Tripartite Commission and in trilateral intelligence channels. He told his Pakistani hosts that Karzai has agreed to support exchanges between Pakistani and Afghan parliamentarians and encouraged the two countries to seek other opportunities to broaden their relationship. The President agreed, but noted that he was disappointed that the agenda for the January 10 Tripartite Commission plenary session did not address the most critical common challenges facing the two countries: cross-border infiltration, repatriating Afghan refugees and closing camps that have become safe havens for extremists.
Afghanistan -- Better Prepared for Spring Offensive
6. (C) Lieutenant General Eikenberry, who was making farewell calls in Islamabad before relinquishing his command on January 21, shared his impressions of the situation in Afghanistan with Musharraf. Eikenberry told Musharraf that, although the we expect the insurgents to launch a strong offensive in the spring, time is not on the Taliban’s side. Afghanistan’s security forces -- the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police -- are growing in confidence and capacity. President Karzai is a more confident commander-in-chief and chief executive, replacing corrupt and poor-performing officials. Reconstruction assistance is taking root in districts throughout the country. U.S. forces  -- which will reach the highest level of strength in Afghanistan in 2007, despite the inactivation of Combined Forces Command-Afghanistan -- stand ready to give NATO all necessary support to achieve it mission. The current winter lull is the time, Eikenberry continued, to move forcefully to disrupt Taliban command-and-control. A strike to the Haqqani network -- which controls some Taliban action from Pakistan -- would deal a serious blow to both Taliban operational planning and recruitment. Responding to Musharraf’s concern that the mil-mil Tripartite Commission is not addressing issues such as refugee repatriation, Eikenberry offered the opinion that the Tripartite Commission operates best when its participants can deal with each other soldier-to-soldier; cross-border issues carrying significant political baggage are better addressed through other channels.
7. (C) President Musharraf suggested that NATO forces could enhance the effort against the Taliban in southern and south-eastern Afghanistan by actively enlisting the support of local populations, even to the extent of arming village-level militias against Taliban insurgents. Boucher described an invigorated effort to boost support for Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police through auxiliary police units of local residents serving under the Ministry of Interior. President Karzai is also responding to public frustration with poor governance and corruption by cleaning out corrupt and dishonest local officials. The international community is using the winter months to inject new flows of development and economic assistance out to the provinces. Musharraf applauded this effort, saying that the Taliban will eventually lose popularity the more it is seen obstructing the country’s reconstruction.
Time to Close Refugee Camps
8. (C) President Musharraf advised Boucher that he and his senior advisors have taken several decisions in recent weeks to improve security along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, including closing at least one of the large camps inhabited by Afghan refugees. These camps have become safe havens for militant elements, Musharraf explained. As extensive collateral casualties would inevitably follow any military operation to separate the militants from the civilian residents, the only solution is to begin closing the camps altogether. Musharraf has tasked his advisors with devising a camp closure plan that incorporates recommendations on where the refugees could be relocated if they choose not to return to Afghanistan. These measure will then be discussed with Afghan and UN officials under the auspices of the refugee Tripartite Commission. We agree with you that the camps should close, Boucher replied, underscoring the urgency of devising a plan and coordinating with Afghanistan and the UN before spring.
Stronger Border Security Measures
9. (C) Stressing that Pakistan understands that it must take firm measure to gain control over its western border, Musharraf reviewed a range of actions already under way. New senior police officials appointed to posts in Balochistan and North West Frontier Province have been personally instructed by the President to crack down on undocumented Afghans and other militant targets. The Ministry of Interior is also in the process of lowering the number of official border crossings in Balochistan from 33 to 6. Enhanced immigrations procedures, including biometric crossing cards, have been introduced at the Chaman border crossing, where 30,000 individuals transit daily. The Army has been ordered to design a plan for selective fencing and mining along the border. Musharraf assured Boucher that Pakistan has long and successful experience with mining along its eastern border, and that extraordinary measures would be implemented to prevent accidental civilian casualties or misappropriation of mines by terrorists. Of course, minefields will not stop terrorism, Musharraf said, but they can help us control the insurgents’ movements across the border. Boucher noted that deployment of land mines is a complicated issue that the U.S. and other Coalition partners will want to discuss with Pakistani military planners. President Musharraf acknowledged that, but said that these are “unusual circumstances” and Pakistan will take “unilateral measures” if needed.
Attack on Insurgents Infiltrating from North Waziristan
10. (S) The American delegation briefed the President on the Coalition assault on a massive infiltration of Taliban fighters from North Waziristan on January 10-11. The fighters massed on the Pakistani side of the border before crossing into Afghanistan, where U.S. forces attacked, killing up to 150. Musharraf shared American concern that the enemy could mobilize such a large force during the winter lull, and expressed some frustration that so large a force had been able to collect on Pakistani territory and then cross the border unimpeded. He suggested that this reflected a need for greater aerial surveillance of the area or night-capable helicopter gunships to attack the enemy, indicating his willingness to coordinate with U.S. forces on deploying whatever air assets are necessary to identify and destroy these enemy movements. (Note: The President was specific in calling for reliance on air assets, saying point blank that ground forces are not an option. End note.)
Re-Assessing the North Waziristan Accord
11. (S) Musharraf briefed Boucher on the government’s recent review of the September 2006 North Waziristan agreement. Governor Orakzai convened the jirga that negotiated the agreement in December, dispatching the members to Miran Shah to make clear to North Waziristan’s tribal leaders that they must take action to prevent cross-border infiltration in support of the Taliban, eliminate foreign fighters from the Agency and stop any effort to establish a parallel political administration. Tribal leaders were given one month to gain control of the situation or the government would consider taking military action. Musharraf refused to be disheartened, saying that it will take time for the accord to take hold. In the interim, the government has stepped up recruitment and training for tribal levies and has assigned a Frontier Corps wing to the Political Agent. This will give the Political Agent the muscle he needs to enforce the writ of state, while the Army will be at hand to take on Taliban and al Qaeda targets.
Pak-Afghan Jirgas
12. (C) Boucher commended Musharraf for naming strong leaders to Pakistan’s Jirga Planning Commission, encouraging the Commission to meet soonest with its Afghan counterpart to discuss each country’s vision for the process. Noting that he would discuss the jirgas with Interior Minister and Jirga Commission Chair Sherpao later in the day, Boucher told the President that the U.S. stands ready to support the process once Pakistan and Afghanistan determine what assistance will be required.
Federally Administered Tribal Areas Development Assistance
13. (C) Musharraf also spoke plans for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas Secretariat and Development Authority to funnel near-term development assistance through tribal maliks, to strengthen their stature within their tribes. Asking maliks to identify development needs and direct resources will reinforce his authority with the local population, said Musharraf. Boucher replied that the U.S. hopes to offer substantial financial support for the Pakistani’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas Sustainable Development Plan.
14. (U) This cable has been cleared by SCA Senior Advisor Caitlin Hayden.
CROCKER