188670 1/24/2009 12:28 09ISLAMABAD155 Embassy Islamabad CONFIDENTIAL "VZCZCXRO4323
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RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY" "C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ISLAMABAD 000155
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/23/2019
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PTER, MAR, MOPS, PK
SUBJECT: CENTCOM GENERAL PETRAEUS MEETS WITH PAKISTAN COAS
Classified By: Ambassador Anne W. Patterson for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
Summary: (C) In a January 20 meeting with U.S. CENTCOM Commander General David Petraeus, Pakistan Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Kayani reiterated his need for support and asked for changes in the Coalition Support Fund process to allow for more rapid reimbursement. Kayani repeated his concerns about Pakistan's IDP situation, which was undermining military operations, and described candidly the deterioration in Swat and his ongoing operations in Bajaur and Mohmand agencies. Kayani repeatedly expressed concern about the inability of the GOP to ""hold and build,"" which General Petraeus described as the ""always unsuccessful clear and leave"" strategy. Kayani said he was going to exercise restraint with India, but would respond to an Indian attack.
General Petraeus raised the likelihood of an alternative shipment route for NATO through central Asia, stressed the continued need for the route through Khyber, and expressed appreciation for increased cooperation on the border with ISAF forces. General Petraeus indicated that he thought increased measures to control population movements would have to be put in place and assured Kayani of his commitment to support Pakistan military development. Petraeus made clear that the Pakistan military needed to focus on the extremists on the western border, instead of the Indian threat. End
1. (C) U.S. CENTCOM Commander General David Petraeus, accompanied by the Ambassador, J5 Major General Robert Allardice and POLAD Michael Gfoeller, met with Pakistan Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Kayani on January 20. Kayani was accompanied by his Director General Military Operations, Major General Javed Iqbal, his Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Muhammad Mustafa Khan, and his Senior Aide, Brigadier Zubeir.
2. (C) In opening remarks regarding General Kayani,s likely move into the official COAS residence, Kayani observed that former President Musharraf,s situation seemed to be fine, even though he had been concerned earlier about Zardari,s failure to grant amnesty to Musharraf. Kayani observed that amnesty should have been granted immediately when Zardari assumed office, but it seemed as if the situation had settled down and he was no longer as concerned about President Musharraf,s legal situation. (Comment: Former President Musharraf is visiting his family in the U.S. and also undertaking speaking engagements. The construction of Musharraf's house near Islamabad is well advanced, so he may be able to move out of the COAS house in the next few weeks. End Comment)
Coalition Support Funds
3. (C) Kayani spoke candidly about the process of reimbursement of Coalition Support Funds (CSF). He said it was important to avoid the impression that the Pakistan military is ""for hire."" Still, the military had little incentive to provide the copious documentation, since only 40 percent of the money had been returned to military coffers in the past. Kayani said the money had mostly supported the federal government's budget. The typical breakdown had been about 60 percent to the federal government, 40 percent to the military, but President Zardari had told him recently that the entire amount would be reimbursed to the military. Kayani suggested that the CSF reimbursement amount ""mirror"" the system used for the UN's reimbursement of peacekeeping expenses or establish a base period and estimate the increase in military activity from that base. Petraeus indicated that he believed that the prospects for the ""Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act"" also known as the Biden-Lugar legislation, which would provide $1.5 billion for development activities, were positive, and there were plans underway to fund Pakistan,s military needs.
IDPs: Humanitarian and Strategic Issue
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4. (C) Kayani explained that his military budget had beenflat lined, and therefore had dropped sharply in real terms;military spending now represented only 16 percent of the government's budget. He said the Pakistan military needed basic equipment like helmets, protective gear, and personnel carriers. Kayani was particularly concerned about the status of internally displaced persons (IDPs), who were displaced from their homes by fighting. This was not only a humanitarian problem, but also a strategic one. Kayani said he had no capacity to compensate civilians who had been injured or whose property had been destroyed. ""If we don,t do that,"" Kayani said, ""we will lose the battle for public opinion."" Kayani said that the provincial government lacks the capacity to help the IDPs. He emphasized the importance of carrying forward the Bajaur operation. Kayani noted that at first he had thought the army ""should stay out of politics,"" but it was increasingly obvious that the military would have to become involved in the IDP situation. Ambassador noted that the international community had also dropped the ball on providing relief for the IDPs and was now rushing to catch up.
5. (C) Kayani was clear that the GOP had lost control of the Swat valley. He said the police had no ability to come in after the army to ""hold"" territory. He recounted that half of the 600 police officers, supposedly from the NWFP's elite police units, destined for Swat had deserted, largely because there was no command structure. Petraeus replied that the U.S. had confronted this same issue in Iraq, describing it as a ""clear and leave"" strategy, requiring the retaking of the same ground multiple times. Petraeus observed that the police are the most vulnerable, since they are exposed in communities. Petraeus noted that increased measures to control population movements would probably have to be put in place throughout the country, which would require considerable manpower.
6. (C) Petraeus said that the Frontier Corps (FC) was working well with Special Operations Forces, largely because of the leadership of the Frontier Corps Inspector General Major General Tariq Khan. Petraeus noted that the 11th CorpsChief of Staff Brigadier Amir was less cooperative with U.S. forces, and Kayani took note of that. Kayani said he had concentrated on improving the Frontier Corps and brought salaries and rations on a par with the regular army. He had also extended to the FC a benefit package for the families of those killed in the line of duty. Kayani added that FC successes in combat had understandably increased morale. Kayani mused about the ""glorification of terrorism"" (particularly the pictures of dead combatants in the press) and said Pakistan needed press laws similar to those in the UK.
7. (C) Kayani and Petraeus agreed that some of the civilian/military projects, which had been impeded at the 11th Corps, needed to be speeded up. Petraeus had given instructions that Special Operations Forces would be deployed regularly and constantly, and the U.S. ""needed to move their soldiers in here, so they could engage productively with the FC.""
8. (C) Petraeus said the most important threat to Pakistan was on the western border and internally. Terrorists were an existential threat to Pakistan. Kayani agreed. However, Kayani observed that he had postponed a missile test. The Indians, he said, in contrast, had conducted one just a few hours before. Kayani said he had no intention to resume missile testing as long as the current tensions persisted. He promised to be transparent with allies about his plans and had briefed us about his move of 6000 troops to the Indian border. Kayani said he was determined to exercise restraint in his actions with India. He recounted that he had taken no action the evening that Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee had supposedly called President Zardari and threatened to declare war. Kayani asked to be alerted if the U.S. had any warning of another attack - he understood that the Indians had been warned about the Mumbai attack. He mentioned that discussion of the consequences of a follow-on attack made both India and Pakistan hostage to extremists and increased the likelihood of an attack. ""If there is any clue about another attack,"" he said, ""please share it with us.""
9. (C) Kayani returned to the issue of CSF at the conclusion of the conversation, saying that he hoped to have the May CSF submission soon, but we needed to develop a simpler way of handling CSF claims. Petraeus said he would look at options quickly. Kayani and Petraeus agreed that progress had been made on the Border Coordination centers and that additional communications capacity needed to be added. Petraeus pressed Kayani on moving forward with setting up the additional facilities inside of Pakistan.
10. (C) Petraeus said he was looking forward to welcoming Kayani to Tampa during his February 2009 counterpart visit. Kayani said he hoped, after consultation with the Prime Minister and the President, to bring a roadmap for consideration by U.S. officials.
11. (U) This cable has been cleared by CENTCOM.