ID: 73464 02/08/2006 12:12    Consulate Peshawar CONFIDENTIAL SECTION 01 OF 02 PESHAWAR 000413

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL:  8/2/2016 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PTER, PK, AF SUBJECT: 11TH CORPS COMMANDER DISCUSSES JIRGA, DEVELOPMENT ISSUES AND NWFP POLITICS

REF: A) PESHAWAR 360; B) ISLAMABAD 13677; C) ISLAMABAD 14209

CLASSIFIED BY: Gautam Rana, Political Officer, U.S. Consulate

Peshawar, State.

REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

1. (C) Summary:   11th Corps Commander Lt. General Hamid Khan expressed optimism that the jirga organized by the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) Governor Ali Jan Orakzai will be successful.  If not, he plans to "hammer" the militants into submission.  Khan does not plan to negotiate with foreign militants and is currently working on a strategy to create separation between the local tribesman and foreigners in the FATA.  The general advocated for economic development projects with an immediate effect, particularly in the textile and mineral industries, that would help placate FATA militants. Khan also criticized the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) religious coalition that currently governs the NWFP, bluntly stating they would not be allowed to return for a second term in office. End summary.

Jirga or the Hammer *******************

2. (C) Khan expressed optimism that the jirga organized by  Governor Orakzai will be successful. The militants had sued for  talks because Khan had been "hammering" them since January,  killing over 400 fighters. Military operations by themselves  would not bring an end to the insurgency, but required a  political solution.  However, if the jirga efforts failed, Khan claimed he would "hammer" them even harder than before, with  more forces and "everything I have." The militants are aware of  this and he did not believe they would challenge the Army.

Foreign militants **************

3.  (C) Khan conceded the militants, especially foreign  fighters, were dispersing to  other agencies from North  Wazirstan during the current lull -- most likely to South  Wazirstan, and up north to Bajaur. There would be no peace or  negotiations with foreign militants, and Khan maintained that he  had a plan for the foreigners "that even the Governor does not  know about."  He did not elaborate, but explained his strategy  is to drive a  wedge between the foreigners and the local population. Khan  distinguished Afghans from the militants, noting the former were "simple people."  He did not perceive Afghans to be a threat and  is not planning any action against them. He expressed bitterness  at President Karzai's comments blaming Pakistan for  Afghanistan's current problems, and rejected other criticisms of  Pakistani efforts. The key to the FATA problem, according to  Khan, is Afghan development.  Without political and economic  development across the border, there will continue to be  problems in the FATA.  "After five years what has Karzai done?  Nothing.  The problem is across the border, not in FATA," claimed Khan.

Development Issues ****************

4. (C)  According to Khan, long-term development is extremely  important and entails building schools, roads, health clinics,  and generally improving the lives of the tribals. However,  development projects that have an immediate impact are even more  critical.  Khan emphasized economic and industrial development,  especially in the textile and mineral industries: "If people see  the development, the fighting will stop".

5. (C)  He reiterated comments he made to us earlier that the  Governor's office lacks capacity to implement development  schemes, and will probably not be able to do so for 5 to 10  years.  The only institution capable of executing wide-scale  development projects is the Army, and it should continue to play  a central role in the coming years.

NWFP Politics *************

6. (C)  Khan criticized the MMA government in the NWFP. He  explained, "We need to ensure the mullahs don't get a second  term. The common person doesn't understand what they're doing,  so they're still popular."  Khan said he had  recently talked to  President Musharraf about this issue, and bluntly added "it  might require manipulation" but "we will separate them and  ensure they do not return for a second term."

7. (C) Clearly speaking in support of Pres. Musharraf and the  PML-Q, he noted "we need to create new alliances" -- Fazlur  Rehman would go to the highest bidder, but Qazi Hussain is more  of a problem, though "nothing" without the MMA.

8. (C) "ANP is the logical partner, but their party chief,  Senator Asfandyar Khan, has too many ties to India and  Afghanistan," stated Khan. He plans to meet with Senator  Asfandyar soon to "sniff him out."

9. (C) COMMENT:  General Khan took pains to emphasize that he  sees himself as "the hammer" that brought local Islamic  militants to the negotiation table - effectively playing the bad  cop while Governor Orakzai plays the good cop.  If jirga efforts  fail to end the insurgency in North Waziristan, he seems  committed to wielding the stick first and asking questions  later.  END COMMENT.

10.  This cable has been approved by Embassy Islamabad. SPANGLER  "