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SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/19/2018

TAGS: PGOV, PK, PREL, PTER, PHUM, PINR

SUBJECT: ANP COALITION PARTNER ASFANDYAR WALI KHAN COMMENTS

ON S. WAZIRISTAN DEAL

 

REF: A. ISLAMABAD 1586

B. ISLAMABAD 1609

C. ISLAMABAD 1614

 

Classified By: Anne W. Patterson, Reasons 1.4 (b), (d)

 

1. (S) Summary: On April 18, Peshawar Principal Officer Lynne

Tracy followed up with Awami National Party (ANP) leader

Asfandyar Wali Khan about the GOP's plans to sign a peace

agreement with tribal elders in South Waziristan.  While Khan

thought the document “was not bad” and consistent with his

party's other efforts to attempt dialogue, he made clear that

the agreement was drafted by Pakistan's military, not its

ruling political parties, at least not the ANP.  Responding

and accepting the USG's deep skepticism with providing room

to the militants, Khan insisted that this deal was different

that that in 2006 in North Waziristan.  This time, there

would be true penalties and, moreover, the deal would be

struck with tribal elders not militants.  He said there was

value in weaning away these tribals.

 

2. (S) Commenting on Chief of Army Staff Kayani, he thought

the General had so far played a “positive role.”  Khan

suggested that the USG push for the Home Secretary of the

Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) to take back authority

over the Federally Administered Tribal Areas' (FATA)

security/policing and for the extension of the Political

Parties Act to the FATA.  He said the ANP had a comprehensive

plan to bring security and infrastructure to FATA and the

adjoining areas of NWFP.  He also suggested international

donors adopt specific geographic areas for development.

Lastly, he recommended that tribal leaders from border areas

on the Afghanistan side of the Durand Line be allowed to

return home to lead their own tribes.  Khan will leave April

24 for official meetings in Washington.  End summary.

 

New South Waziristan Agreement

------------------------------

 

3. (S) Peshawar Principal Officer (PO) Lynne Tracy met April

18 in Islamabad with GOP coalition partner Awami National

Party (ANP) leader Asfandyar Wali Khan.  Mission requested

this meeting to ascertain to what extent Khan concurred, or

even sponsored, the plan to open negotiations between the GOP

and South Waziristan tribal leaders.  The outlines for a

negotiated peace agreement were briefed to the Ambassador

late April 16 by newly-appointed National Security Advisor to

the Prime Minister Ambassador Durrani (reftel A).  Ambassador

subsequently discussed the issue with President Musharraf,

Prime Minister Gillani and Pakistan People's Party (PPP)

leader Zardari (reftels B and C).

 

4. (S) Khan informed the PO that a draft agreement was

presented by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Kayani

at a security briefing about two weeks ago to Zardari and

other coalition partner leaders, including himself.  Khan

confirmed that the document was not written by the political

parties, at least not by the ANP.  Khan revealed that Durrani

did consult him before the announced deal this week.  On such

matters, Khan claimed that Zardari deferred completely to the

ANP; “I rule the rest of Pakistan,” Zardari supposedly told

Kayani at their security briefing.

 

5. (S) Khan argued that this agreement was different from the

one in 2006 with North Waziristan, with which he vehemently

disagreed; this time, he insisted, the deal would be with

tribal elders and not the militants.  Additionally, there

would be penalties for individuals and even tribes that broke

the peace and no land (whether within or outside of Pakistan)

of a signatory tribe could be used to harbor foreign

fighters.  “We will be the first to know if the agreement is

violated,” Khan claimed.  He also claimed a number of South

Waziristani tribal leaders, including Ahmedzai Wazirs based

in the western part of the agency, were prepared to sign the

peace agreement.  He maintained that the agreement was only

with tribal elders.

 

6. (S) The PO expressed the USG's deep skepticism that this

latest agreement would not be misused by the militants to

re-group and plan for action against the U.S.  Khan said he

understood the skepticism, but “it is the best we can expect

 

ISLAMABAD 00001615  002 OF 003

 

 

under the circumstances.”  Khan was quick to reiterate that

the ANP did not author this agreement, implying that the

military had drafted it.  ANP, he said, was focused on

“discussions” with “groups” (NFI) in Buner and Swat,

districts within the ANP-led Northwest Frontier Province

(NWFP), but was not engaged with groups in the Federally

Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

 

7. (S) “We want dialogue,” so long as the militants first

give up their guns and “state action” always remains an

option, Khan said.  Asked what the ANP would do if the

Pakistan Army refuses to conduct operations against militants

if the political parties determined this new agreement had

failed, Khan threatened to pull his party from the governing

coalition.

 

8. (S) PO questioned how weakened South Waziristani tribal

leaders would take on militant leader Baitullah Mehsud.

Mehsud was in South Waziristan only every three to four

months, Khan said.  He maintained that Mehsud had taken

refuge in North Waziristan with the Haqqanis and was spending

most of his time in the Haqqanis' heavily fortified madrassa

(location NFI) which the government had been unable to take

on.

 

9. (S) The GOP (and West) needed to enlist local tribal

leaders to turn the tide against extremism, Khan commented.

The ANP leader advocated finding “more Maulana Nazir's.”

(Comment: Nazir is the South Waziristani militant who was

part of the Pakistani military's strategy of using

“indigenous” forces in Spring 2007 to oust Uzbek fighters

from parts of the agency -- a campaign that produced mixed

results at best.)  The ANP only desired Pashtuns to return to

a more peaceful time when they were aligned with the GOP and

the West.  However, if the tribals were targeted by overt

direct foreign intervention, he warned that not even

organized, popular parties, such as the ANP, would be able to

control the reaction.  Instead, this new agreement, Khan

thought, would at least wean away some of the tribal elders

and isolate the “irreconcilables.”

 

The Kayani Connection

---------------------

 

10. (S) Responding to the PO's questions as to the exact role

of the military in drafting this deal, Khan commented that

Kayani's “body language was odd” the day the draft was

presented and that Kayani appeared “resigned to anything we

wanted.”  Khan quickly added that if this new attempt at

dialogue was to work, all players -- the parties, the

Pakistan Army, the tribals, and the Coalition Forces in

Afghanistan -- would have to support the strategy.

 

11. (S) Khan said that Kayani had so far played a “positive

role” when he took over ISI, closing six militant training

camps identified by his party and removing ISI officers who

had remained in the FATA too long.  (Note: Embassy does not

have information on any such training camps being “closed.”)

The ANP also got its candidate appointed as Frontier Corps

Commandant, Khan noted.  The Prime Minister would soon recall

Constabulary Forces back from the Baloch belt, he added, as

part of ANP's strategy of strengthening local security

forces.  While the Army needed to maintain its presence in

the FATA and to apply all the pressures at its disposal, the

institution was admittedly in a weak position, Khan said.

 

The Way Forward

---------------

 

12. (S) Khan said that, if the USG could advocate for any

policy initiatives with the GOP, he recommended: (1) FATA

security/policing be taken away from the FATA Secretariat and

returned to the NWFP Home Secretary; and, (2) the Political

Parties Act be extended to the FATA.  On the former, he

claimed bureaucratic logjams caused field delays on law and

order decisions which were taken all the way up to the NWFP

governor; on the latter, who better than ANP workers, an ally

in the War on Terror, to go into the FATA, but current laws

forbade political parties there.  A simple executive order

would extend the law's reach, Khan said.

 

 

ISLAMABAD 00001615  003 OF 003

 

 

13. (S) Khan provided the broad outlines of an ANP's

comprehensive plan for donors that would focus on

strengthening local security forces/police, roads and dams --

all areas where improved conditions in the FATA were linked

to improvement in the NWFP.  Khan warned that the plan would

be costly, but added, “in times of crisis, you have to be

ambitious.”

 

14. (S) Khan wanted to avoid ad hoc projects.  Recognizing

that the European Union was more hesitant to work in the

FATA, because of security concerns, Khan recommended that the

international community divide up the region, adopting

specific geographic areas.  Developing those districts of

NWFP that adjoined the FATA would help with FATA development

as well.

 

Trouble Further North

---------------------

 

15. (S) Khan expressed concern about Afghanistan's northern

border province of Kunar, noting the “fierce resistance” by

militants there in recent months.  He feared a “spillover to

this side.”  He also said that a few governors of border

areas should be removed; instead, leaders like Haji Din

Muhammad, from Jalalabad, should be brought back to run their

own tribal areas.  Such leaders would be the only authorities

accepted by the tribal societies.

 

16. (U) Khan will leave April 24 for official meetings in

Washington.

 

17. (S) Comment: While the latest agreement in South

Waziristan follows the political solution outlined by ANP,

Khan seemed somewhat hesitant initially in expressing his

endorsement to us, going so far as to turn on a television to

mask our conversation, perhaps reflecting ANP reservations

over a deal that appears to have been largely brokered by the

military rather than political forces.  He was left in no

doubt of our concerns over the possible impact of this latest

effort to isolate and bring militant activity under control.

End comment.

 

PATTERSON