In Nordafghanistan hat ein Selbstmordattentäter bei einer Hochzeitsfeier mindestens 17 Menschen mit in den Tod gerissen. Unter den Opfern ist auch ein einflussreicher afghanischer Politiker und Milizenchef. Die Hintergründe des Anschlags sind unklar, die Taliban wiesen jede Verantwortung zurück.Von Kai Küstner, ARD-Hörfunkstudio Südasien, Neu-Delhi
Im Hochzeitssaal hatten sich viele hochrangige afghanische Würdenträger und andere Gäste versammelt, als der Selbstmordattentäter sich in ihrer Mitte in die Luft sprengte. Es deutet vieles darauf hin, dass der Anschlag ihnen sowie einem regionalen Machthaber und Politiker galt: Ahmed Khan, ein afghanischer Parlamentsabgeordneter und Milizenchef, feierte gerade die Hochzeit seiner Tochter, als die Explosion ihn und viele seiner Gäste in den Tod riss. Einem Augenzeugen zufolge tat der Angreifer so, als gehöre er zu den Gratulanten und umarmte Khan zur Begrüßung, bevor er dann seinen Sprengsatz zündete.
Einsatzgebiet der Bundeswehr
Der Anschlag ereignete sich im Einsatzgebiet der Bundeswehr, in der eher ruhigen Nord-Provinz Samangan, die in einem Gebiet zwischen den beiden deutschen Feldlagern Kundus und Masar-i-Sharif liegt. Der Polizeichef von Samangan, Khalil Andarabi, beschreibt die Situation am Anschlagsort: „Die Detonation war so heftig, dass es schwer ist, genau herauszufinden, wer die Opfer im einzelnen sind. Wir haben viele Verletzte nach Kabul und Masar-i-Sharif geschickt, damit sie dort behandelt werden können. Später werden wir genau identifizieren, wer sich unter den Toten und Verwundeten befindet.“
Taliban weisen Verantwortung zurück
Die Taliban stritten sofort jede Verantwortung ab. Derzeit ist demnach völlig unklar, wem der Anschlag zuzuschreiben ist. Es wird jedoch nicht ausgeschlossen, dass es sich um eine Fehde zwischen lokalen Machthabern handeln könnte. Beobachter befürchten bereits, dies seien erste Vorboten dessen, was dem Land blühe, wenn die ausländischen Truppen erst wieder abgezogen seien.
Nicht nur die Taliban würden dann für Afghanistan eine echte Bedrohung darstellen. Auch könnten dann die Rivalitäten zwischen alten Machthabern, den sogenannten Warlords, wieder offen ausbrechen.
Khan war Vertrauter Karsais
Khan hatte eine entscheidende Rolle in Afghanistan gespielt, seit er in den 80er-Jahren, im Krieg gegen die Sowjets, eine Mujaheddin-Einheit befehligt hatte. Er galt zuletzt als Vertrauter von Präsident Hamid Karsai. In einer Erklärung teilte Karsai mit, erneut hätten die Feinde Afghanistans auf einen Mujahid gezielt, der bei der nationalen Versöhnung eine entscheidende Rolle gespielt habe.
Security officers investigate the scene of a bomb in Gazni, Afghanistan, on Saturday. (Rahmatullah Nikzad / Associated Press / January 26, 2013)
January 26, 2013, 10:53 a.m.
KABUL, Afghanistan At least 11 police officers were killed and numerous civilians injured in two bombings Saturday in the north and east of Afghanistan. Among the dead were the police counter-terrorism chief and the head of the traffic police in the northern province of Kunduz.
The Afghan police and other security forces are frequent targets of insurgents seeking to undermine confidence in the government as the U.S. and other countries prepare to withdraw most of their forces next year.
Mohammad Khalil Andarabi, the Kunduz police chief, said a suicide bomber blew himself up in a square in the heart of the provincial capital as the two senior officers were chatting about 5.30 p.m.
The traffic officer was at a police post in the square when the counter-terrorism officer, accompanied by bodyguards, stopped there to do some shopping on his way home from work, Andarabi said.
We are not sure whether the suicide bomber detonated his explosives when he saw the police gathering at the square or he had been following the counter-terrorism chief for a while, Andarabi said. We have started an investigation to find out more.
Andarabi said the bomber was on foot. But the Interior Ministry, which oversees the police, said the assailant was riding a motorcycle. In all, 10 officers were killed and five injured along with at least 12 civilians, he said.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement emailed to journalists.
KABUL 00000657 002 OF 005 ¶5. (C) Like most ANP Chiefs, Police Chief Andarabi maintains that he lacks sufficient personnel to adequately patrol all the other districts of the province, let alone Ghormach. In a meeting with PolOffs, he defended his limited deployment of police to outlying districts, citing competing requirements, including traffic control and protection of government officials and offices in Maimana. With respect to Ghormach, Andarabi argued that the police are saddled with a task more properly assigned to the ANA and foreign forces, and that his ANP are outgunned by the insurgents. U.S. military colleagues cited another obstacle to successful ANP efforts in Ghormach ) glitches in the disbursement of salaries to police serving there, including lags in the Ministry of Interior forwarding conflict zone bonus payments. ¶6. (C) Notwithstanding the focus on Ghormach as a primary source of instability in Faryab, several of our interlocutors cited concerns about insurgent activities in the „Pashtun belt“ extending from Ghormach to the northeast, along the Turkmen border, towards Andkhoy. Andarabi complained of the ineffectiveness of widely-spaced Afghan Border Police stationed in or beyond the mountains extending along a line roughly parallel to the border. According to Andarabi, many of the ABP are residents of the areas they patrol and, he suggested, are reluctant to act against some of the insurgents. Moreover, he reported that insurgents can easily evade pursuit by ABP or other ANSF by temporarily crossing the border into Turkmenistan. He and others claimed that Turkmenistan leaves a swath of its territory undefended, deploying its own forces some 20 km away from the border. ¶7. (C) The ABP are widely regarded as the weakest link in Faryab,s security structure. The PRT Maimana Commander and the ANP and NDS Chiefs referenced an ANP-devised plan to pull the ABP forces back to Maimana for a few weeks of training, temporarily replacing them with a contingent of ABP seconded from elsewhere in the region. Then, rather than redeploying the ABP to their former locations close to the border, they would deploy ABP soldiers to positions further east, closer to the Ring Road. In those positions, the ANP personnel could support their ABP colleagues and, together, the two forces could enhance protection of the more populated areas of the province. Whatever the merits of this plan, it is not clear that the ABP itself supports it. ¶8. (C) PRT Maimana contacts share the view that the ANSF needs to provide more and better-trained security forces in the Pashtun belt. But they observe that the predominantly Tajik and Uzbek composition of the ANP in Faryab presents challenges. According to PRT Maimana military and civilian contacts, on some occasions when the ANP has supported ABP operations in the Pashtun belt, ANP personnel have beaten up local residents. ¶9. (C) While ANP Chief Andarabi,s reputation among our foreign Faryab-based contacts is mixed ) one likened Andarabi to Tony Soprano ) the consensus view is that NDS Chief Gen. Abdul Hafiz manages his portfolio effectively. He is cooperative and provides accurate and actionable intelligence to foreign forces operating in the area. „Gateway to the North“: Plugging the Gap —————————————- ¶10. (C) Foreign and Afghan interlocutors alike noted Faryab,s history as the „gateway to the north,“ and expressed consternation that, in their view, ANSF and ISAF have not been allocating sufficient financial and human resources and materiel to prevent insurgents from using Ghormach and Faryab,s Pashtun belt to advance further into northern Afghanistan. Both groups discounted the ideological appeal of the insurgents, seeing financial incentives as the key motivating factor for most of the combatants. Military contacts referred to the majority of recruits as „$10 a day soldiers“ who would be just as happy to have alternative means of earning a living. GOVERNANCE AND DEVELOPMENT Governor Shafaq: The „Lone Ranger“ ———————————- ¶11. (C) During a dinner at his official guest house for PRT Mazar Poloff, PolAsst and RC-North Rule of Law Coordinator, Governor Abdul Haq Shafaq reiterated his praise of U.S. forces in the area, contrasting their performance with that of the Norwegian and Latvian forces from PRT Maimana. He fondly recalled Ambassador Eikenberry,s October 2009 visit, as well as his visit several years ago to Nebraska, KABUL 00000657 003 OF 005 California, New Mexico and Washington, DC as a participant in an International Visitors program for selected Afghanistan provincial governors. Shafaq gives the impression of being very pro-American. ¶12. (C) Others view Shafaq ) and he views himself ) as an outsider. As a Sar-e-Pol native and a Hazara, he seems somewhat insulated from some of the ethnic rivalries (especially between the predominant Uzbeks and the Pashtuns). To all appearances, President Karzai is his principal power base. Faryab-based UNAMA interlocutors characterize him as a balancer of interests, as being above the fray, and say that local residents seem to appreciate his role. Military and civilian contacts at the PRT are less enthusiastic, noting that the Governor has spent much of the past several months outside of Faryab, most recently spending 2 or 3 weeks in Kabul. (Both UNAMA and PRT contacts speculate that, having served as Governor of three different provinces to date – Sar-e-Pol, Samangan and Faryab ) Shafaq was in Kabul to lobby for an assignment there, perhaps a ministerial appointment.) Afghan interlocutors evinced no strong feelings (pro or con) about the Governor. ¶13. (C) Shafaq said he distrusts the majority of officials of Faryab ) that he can count on one hand the number of people who merit his trust. He portrayed himself as responsive to individual constituents who contact him with their concerns, including regarding alleged corruption among public officials. He purports to conduct his own investigations into malfeasance, and to have secured the demotion of some public officials caught defrauding the public. He even claims to go undercover to monitor the behavior of officials. Shafaq said he believes his anti-corruption moves have sparked significant changes in official behavior; however, he added that such changes will only take hold permanently if others clean up the justice sector. ¶14. (C) The Governor also casts himself as a reformer vis–vis the IDLG. Convinced that other Governors divert much of their monthly representational allowances (from operational budgets received from the IDLG) to their own accounts or in support of their own private interests, Shafaq said he had opted to save most of his monthly allowances in order to fund construction of the reception hall in the Governor,s official guest house. According to Shafaq, IDLG officials long had resisted this use of representational funds, but finally relented. He reported that he again is setting aside a substantial portion of his representational allowance ) this time, in order to fund upgrades to rooms in the building housing the Governor,s Office. ¶15. (C) Although he touched upon counternarcotics efforts only briefly, the Governor considers Faryab to be poppy-free. He ignores contrary evidence from Ghormach, presumably because he considers Ghormach a part of Baghdis, rather than Faryab. (UNODC has taken the same approach; in 2009 it declared Faryab poppy-free and, as a result, Faryab received Good Performers, Initiative funding.) ¶16. (C) Shafaq initially skirted PolOff,s question about his own political future. But he then advised that he understands that President Karzai plans to keep him in his position „for now.“ Provincial Council: A Slow Start ——————————— ¶17. (C) Inaugurated approximately a week before PolOffs, arrival, the Provincial Council had met only once when PolOffs paid an initial call on eight of the members, including the Chairman and one of the female members. The members in attendance seemed puzzled by PolOff,s inquiries regarding the leading concerns of their constituents, their vision of the role of the Council and their near-term agenda. The Chairman, one of many new members of the Council, wondered aloud how members could know anything about Faryab residents, primary concerns, given that the members had just assumed their positions. Similarly, he considered it too early in the new Council,s tenure to speculate about the Council,s near-term or long-term priorities. ¶18. (C) Impatient with the course of the discussion, one member challenged the efforts of the international community, asking „Where,s the development?“ This sparked a heated discussion of the international donor community,s and Afghan Government,s perceived neglect of Faryab. PolAsst noted evidence that Faryab had received substantial benefits over the past several years, especially in Maimana; as a result, KABUL 00000657 004 OF 005 the province enjoys many kilometers of well-paved roads and relatively extensive and reliable access to electricity. (NOTE: USAID program funding in Faryab totaled $7.9 million between October 2007 and September 2008. END NOTE.) ¶19. (C) Later in the meeting, one member commented that the building in which the Faryab Provincial Council meets actually belongs to the Ministry of Agriculture. He suggested that one way to support local governance would be for donors to consider providing the Council with its own building. Junbesh Party Officials: Hiring the Capable ——————————————- ¶20. (C) Junbesh party officials, concerns about Faryab,s security situation paralleled those of government officials. Provincial party leader Mohammad Asef Paiman remained tight-lipped about prospects for appointment of a Junbesh member as Governor, and declined to assess Governor Shafaq,s performance. (COMMENT: Junbesh support undoubtedly played a strong role in delivering 60 percent of the vote to Karzai in the 2009 election; accordingly, Junbesh contacts are hopeful that a Junbesh member will be the next Faryab Governor. END COMMENT.) However, Paiman highlighted the need for improvements in governance, and drew particular attention to the civil service hiring system, which he regards as corrupt. He decried the low capacity of government officials occupying senior positions in line ministries, both at the national and provincial level. He declared that even though he holds a Ph.D. in Economics, he has avoided applying for government positions, not wanting to risk losing out to applicants with less education and thereby becoming a laughingstock among his friends. MRRD and MinEcon: Power to the People? ————————————– ¶21. (C) Faryab Director for MRRD Amanullah Salimi provided an overview of his Department,s efforts in support of provincial development and its collaboration with the Afghan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) and other agencies in responding to emergency situations. In his view, the existing process for determining development priorities works as designed; Community Development Councils (CDCs) and District Development Assemblies (DDAs) are operating effectively (and democratically) in assembling and conveying their recommendations upward to provincial and central government decision makers. The Director offered no complaints about GIRoA,s prioritization and allocation of development spending, but did offer criticism of international donors for declining to underwrite his plan to assist a village that had lost access to its sole water source after an avalanche. He suggested that a few thousand dollars could fund the digging of a well that would enable much of the village,s population to return to their homes. ¶22. (C) The Acting Director of the Provincial Office of the Economy Ministry (MinEcon), his assistant and their USAID-funded advisor were hard at work developing a current Provincial Development Plan (PDP), but were finding the work challenging. Both MinEcon officials had arrived within the past two years and have no support staff. ¶23. (C) PolOffs raised questions about the degree to which MinEcon,s process for establishing the PDP reflects the will of the populace. Apparently, residents meet at the village level and come up with a list of proposed projects, but then representatives of only six villages within each district (regardless of the number of villages within a district) are invited to argue their case at the district level. There, MinEcon relies upon District Governors (who are appointed, not elected) to determine which villages should be represented. Then, with the assistance of „sectoral“ representatives from the local offices of line ministries (also not elected), the District Governor determines which projects merit consideration at the provincial level. ¶24. (C) PolOffs observed that such an approach likely facilitates quicker decision making; however, it also undercuts governance objectives by making the process less democratic and more „top down.“ The process as outlined by provincial-level MinEcon officials appeared to minimize the input of grassroots-based CDCs and DDAs in developing Faryab,s Provincial Development Plan. COMMENT ——- KABUL 00000657 005 OF 005 ¶25. (C) Governor Shafaq is an engaging interlocutor and appears genuinely committed to improving governance in Faryab. But our sense is that his go-it-alone, trust-no-one approach to fighting corruption will limit his effectiveness in changing the way other government officials in the province carry out their responsibilities. Absent a cadre of capable good governance adherents in the line ministries and his own office willing to follow his lead, progress likely will remain halting. Shafaq may not have the opportunity to remain much longer as Faryab Governor, despite his understanding that President Karzai intends to keep him in place „for now.“ „For now“ embraces a wide range of possibilities; it could mean a week, a month, a year, or more. Moreover, according to Junbesh contacts elsewhere in the North, Faryab,s governorship is high on the party,s wish list to reward its support for Karzai,s second-term victory. EIKENBERRY Eikenberry