ID: 245077    1/23/2010 12:21    10RIYADH101    Embassy Riyadh    SECRET//NOFORN    09RIYADH1639|10RIYADH8    "VZCZCXRO5980 OO RUEHBC RUEHKUK RUEHTRO DE RUEHRH #0101/01 0231221 ZNY SSSSS ZZH O 231221Z JAN 10 FM AMEMBASSY RIYADH TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2350 INFO RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI IMMEDIATE 0005 RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD IMMEDIATE 4825 RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL IMMEDIATE 0317 RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON IMMEDIATE 2953 RUSBPW/AMCONSUL PESHAWAR IMMEDIATE 0196 RUEHLH/AMCONSUL LAHORE IMMEDIATE 0056"    "S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 RIYADH 000101

NOFORN SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/11/2020 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PK, AF, SA SUBJECT: SPECIAL ADVISOR TO SRAP WITH SAUDI INTEL: WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE TALIBAN?

REF: A. 09 RIYADH 1639 B. RIYADH 8

RIYADH 00000101  001.2 OF 002

Classified By: Ambassador James B. Smith for reasons 1.4 (B) and (D)

SUMMARY: --------

1. (C) During a meeting with General Masudi, General Director of Internal Affairs for the General Intelligence Presidency (GIP), Barnett R. Rubin, the Special Advisor to the Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, sought Masudi’s views regarding the Taliban, Saudi plans to deal with them politically, and the objectives of Pakistan. Masudi discussed the GIP view of the Taliban and mentioned concerns about keeping Pakistan a part of the process. He also discussed the growing Iranian role in Pakistan's instability, Taliban financing in Saudi Arabia and a possible positive outcome for Afghans being held in Saudi Arabia. End Summary.

2. (S//NF) Barnett R. Rubin, the Special Advisor to the Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Chief GRPO met with General Masudi, the General Director of Internal Affairs for the GIP, on January 11 to discuss policy regarding the Taliban and the potential for cooperation with the SAG in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

THE SAG VIEW OF THE MATTER --------------------------

3. (C) Masudi gave an overview of SAG thinking about the Afghan Taliban. The SAG viewed the Afghan Taliban as largely under the control of Pakistan, Masudi said. Many members of the Taliban were born in Pakistan as refugees, had lived there and had family there. However, there were some members of the Afghan Taliban who were opposed to such a strong Pakistani influence. They wished to pursue their own objectives without outside influence. Unfortunately, this group was weak. These members of the Afghan Taliban needed support to be able to become more independent of Pakistan.

AFGHAN FIGHTERS EXPLOITED BY IRAN AND PAKISTAN --------------------------------------------- -

4. (C) Most of the Afghan Taliban were Afghan citizens, Masudi continued, but they did not have a clear vision of what they wanted for Afghanistan. The vast majority of the Afghan fighters were being exploited by outside powers and simply used as “fuel for the battle.” Outside powers, like Iran and Pakistan, had influenced the uneducated Afghans to believe that the U.S. and the SAG were working against the Afghan people. We have to convey the truth to this group, Masudi urged, because they were ignorant and simply didn't know.

DON'T FORGET PAKISTAN ---------------------

5. (C) In order for any of this to work, Masudi cautioned, it was vital to consider Pakistan's concerns regarding Afghanistan. Pakistan was very concerned about losing influence in Afghanistan to India and Iran. It was important that the SAG and the U.S. reassure Pakistan that any activities conducted wouldn't harm its interests, otherwise there might be a backlash. Furthermore, the Pakistani government insisted that it played a big part in the defeat of the Soviets. Islamabad lost much in the war, and had to take in millions of Afghan refugees. The Pakistanis felt that they deserved to have a big part in Afghanistan, Masudi said. They wanted to be “the closest friend” and were offended when they thought Iran or India were taking this role.

6. (C) The border between Pakistan and Afghanistan was also a major concern to Pakistan, Masudi said, even if the Pakistanis didn't say it. This single issue was a very important factor in the 1980's when Pakistan was deciding which mujahidin groups to support. (Note: At that time Masudi worked on Afghanistan for GIP chief Prince Turki al-Faisal. End note.) Pakistan would support only those leaders who promised to recognize the Durand Line as an international border. This was why Pakistan did not support Ahmad Shah Massoud.

THE TALIBAN IN PAKISTAN; A WHOLE DIFFERENT MATTER --------------------------------------------- ----

7. (C) Masudi made a big distinction between the Taliban in Afghanistan and in Pakistan. In Pakistan, he said, Al Qaeda had much more of an influence over the Taliban. Negotiating with the Taliban in Pakistan wouldn't work because they didn't have a political cause to negotiate.

IRAN AND AL QAEDA -----------------

8. (C) Masudi said that the GIP had information that demonstrated new links between Iran and Al Qaeda. Some Al Qaeda prisoners that were held in Iran had been released and gone to fight in Waziristan. Masudi gave the example of Yasin Bargush, a Syrian member of Al Qaeda's leadership who was arrested and detained in Iran. Masudi said that Bargush was released by Iran to strengthen the link between Al Qaeda and Iran.

TALIBAN FINANCING -----------------

9. (C) Rubin outlined the USG's concern about members of the Taliban fundraising in the KSA. Even if Taliban leaders traveled to the KSA for talks, he explained, it was key that they were not allowed to raise funds while they were in the Kingdom. Masudi agreed and assured Rubin that guests of the GIP in Saudi Arabia were not raising money. Masudi suggested that his office meet with the MOI and give them an overview of these discussions so that they could coordinate some of their efforts. “We need to be clear with all of the government that raising money is not permitted.”

AFGHANS ARRESTED IN KSA COULD BE HELPFUL ----------------------------------------

10. (C) Masudi also mentioned that the SAG held a number of Afghans in prison on charges of fundraising for the Taliban. Perhaps these prisoners could be used as bargaining chips in political talks, Masudi speculated. This could strengthen the hand of those engaged in political discussions and demonstrate to members of the Taliban that such efforts could produce positive results. Masudi suggested that this was another area where the GIP could coordinate with the MOI.

ALL THE REST ------------

11. (C) Summarizing his views on the Haqqani Network and Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin, Masudi said they all wanted power but they would join the political process eventually. “When they are convinced that a military solution won't work, they will join to have a piece of the cake.”

12. (U) Special Advisor to the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Barnett R. Rubin, has cleared this message. SMITH