Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Wiki Leak cable on Kayani visit to Washington

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
192895 2009-02-19 16:17:00 2011-05-04 06:16:07 SECRET Embassy Islamabad



E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/04/2018

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

1. (S) Summary. Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq
Kayani's February 20-27 visit to Washington comes on the
heels of the government's loss of control over Swat,
continued Pakistani Army/Frontier Corps operations in the
tribal areas, and still-simmering Indo-Pak tensions in the
wake of the Mumbai attacks. We expect Kayani will request
increased intelligence sharing (real-time SIGINT and ISR),
help to modernize his helicopter fleet, increased support for
civilian law enforcement, and financial compensation for
Pakistanis displaced by combat. He likely will complain
about delays in Coalition Support Fund payments, suggest that
U.S. policy on strikes in the tribal areas be amended, and
request information about plans for a U.S. troop surge in
southern Afghanistan.

2. (C) We should recognize growing Pakistani casualties in
the fight against militants, praise Kayani's support for the
civilian democratic government in Islamabad, re-iterate the
long-term U.S. commitment to support Pakistan, and thank him
for agreeing to send his intelligence chief and director of
military operations to the Holbrooke/Riedel U.S.-Pakistan
strategic review meeting in Washington. We should also thank
Kayani for the GOP's effort to ensure that U.S./NATO
continues to deliver fuel and dry goods through Pakistan for
our forces in Afghanistan.

3. (C) But we need to lay down a clear marker that
Pakistan's Army/ISI must stop overt or tacit support for
militant proxies (Haqqani network, Commander Nazir,
Lashkar-e-Taiba). We should preface that conversation with
an agreement to open a new page in relations; Kayani, who was
ISI Chief from 2004-2007, does not want a reckoning with the
past. Given the GOP surrender of Swat to local taliban, we
need to press Kayani to commit his now reluctant Army to
retake the area after the "peace deal" inevitably fails.

4. (C) We should press for Pakistani prosecution of the
Mumbai suspects, encourage expanded USG training of Army and
Frontier Corps forces, raise the prospect of embedding U.S.
military observers/advisors with the Frontier Corps, support
a prioritized needs-based FMF request that builds COIN
capability, ask Kayani to explain how Pakistan plans to back
U.S. efforts to stabilize Afghanistan, and probe for what
Indian action would allow him to redeploy troops from his
eastern front to support increased combat in the Pak-Afghan
border area. Suggested talking points and bio are included
at paras 28-30. End Summary.

Supporting Democratic Governance

5. (C) The civilian government headed by Prime Minister
Yousaf Gilani, elected one year ago, is now stable.
President Zardari's elected position is politically secure
and Gilani has a majority in parliament. The Pakistan
People's Party (PPP) and its coalition allies rule in three
of the four provinces and effectively control all three
branches of federal government. Opposition leader Nawaz
Sharif is by far the most popular politician in Pakistan
(with an 83% approval rating compared to Zardari's 20% in the
latest IRI poll), but he does not have the votes to bring
down the government.

6. (C) Zardari is cementing leadership alliances so he can
avoid another election until he receives international
assistance to address food and fuel inflation, electricity
blackouts and high unemployment. Pakistan has met its
first-quarter targets under a $6.7 billion IMF Standby
Agreement but the economy remains too weak to support the
Pakistani military's appetite for expensive weapons systems
(particular F-16s).

7. (C) President Zardari and Kayani are the key
decision-makers in Pakistan; they have developed a respectful
if not entirely trusting working relationship. Kayani has
gone out of his way to publicly defer to Zardari because he
needs political support to wage successful military

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operations. After eight years of military rule under
Musharraf, Zardari is re-shaping civilian-military relations
in the shadow of Pakistan's history of repeated military
coups. It is in USG interests for the Zardari/Gilani
government to complete its full five-year term, and we should
praise Kayani's efforts to support civilian democracy.

8. (C) Kayani may advocate for pending legislation
(Kerry-Lugar) in the U.S. Congress to triple non-military
assistance to Pakistan and robust USG support for an
IMF/World Bank Donors' Conference to provide $4 billion in
social safety net programs to compensate for IMF-imposed
budget cuts. We anticipate that Special Representative
Holbrooke will attend a Donors' Conference in April. Kayani
may request additional U.S. support for civilian law
enforcement; in addition to the over $40 million of equipment
and training delivered to the Frontier Corps, we are
providing $15 million in additional equipment for the
Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) police and are working to
re-program another $55 million in FY2009. There is a FY2009
supplemental request pending for another $95 million for the
9. (C) Kayani will request cash to assist more than 300,000
internally displaced persons (IDPs) who have fled fighting in
the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Swat,
NWFP. Through USAID, State/PRM and DOD, we already have
provided over $10 million in assistance and are preparing to
respond to new UNHCR/ICRC/World Food Program appeals for
Pakistan. Of particular interest will be U.S. plans to
continue/expand the delivery of $2 million in (CERP-like)
assistance from DOD through the Frontier Corps to IDPs in
support of Kayani's counter-insurgency strategy.

10. (C) Security concerns are limiting our ability to
operate, but today USAID contractors are building schools and
wells, hiring workers for short-term jobs, training teachers
and increasing the capacity of the FATA Secretariat to
deliver services that demonstrate the writ of government in

The Big Strategic Questions

11. (S) Zardari and Gilani agree that Pakistan's biggest
threat comes from a growing militant insurgency on the
Pak-Afghan border. The military and ISI have not yet made
that leap; they still view India as their principle threat
and Afghanistan as strategic depth in a possible conflict
with India. They continue to provide overt or tacit support
for proxy forces (including the Haqqani group, Commander
Nazir, Gulbaddin Hekmatyar, and Lashkar-e-Taiba) as a foreign
policy tool.

12. (S) The single biggest message Kayani should hear in
Washington is that this support must end. It is now
counterproductive to Pakistan's own interests and directly
conflicts with USG objectives in Afghanistan--where Haqqani
is killing American soldiers and Afghan civilians--and the
region--where Mumbai exposed the fruits of previous ISI
policy to create Lashkar-e-Taiba and still threatens
potential conflict between nuclear powers.

13. (S) Kayani will want to hear that the U.S. has turned
the page on past ISI operations (he was ISI chief from
2004-2007). We should ask for his views on what political
end state in Afghanistan would convince him to end proxy
support for militants and probe for what would be required by
India to allow him to redeploy forces from the Indian border
for the fight in FATA. The reality is that, without a
redeployment, he does not have the forces (however poorly
trained) to combat the insurgency in FATA.

Pakistani Will. . . .

14. (C) The good news is that the Army/Frontier Corps are
engaged in combat in Bajaur and Mohmand, FATA. Zardari is
committed to the fight; he knows that Osama bin Laden has
publicly targeted Pakistan and admits "the militants are

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after me and my job." The bad news is that the militants
increasingly are setting the agenda.

15. (C) The government's anti-terrorism strategy is based
on "dialogue, deterrence and development;" however, it lacks
the military capacity to deter militants and the financial
resources to develop the FATA and NWFP. Its historic
fallback has been to play for time by conducting negotiations
with militants, a disastrous tactic that only has made the
extremists stronger. The government insists it will
negotiate with tribal leaders but not with militants.

16. (C) However, in the latest agreement in Swat (once a
tourist resort approximately 90 miles from Islamabad), the
provincial government agreed to negotiate for peace in
exchange for imposition of Shari'a law with the Taliban.
This was recognition of de-facto Taliban control, which
produced beheadings, closure of girls' schools, a growing
exodus of terrified citizens, and the desertion of outgunned
and outmanned police. Ham-handed military tactics, which
included indiscriminate artillery bombardment, have further
alienated a population that simply wants the fighting to end.
Under international pressure, Zardari has not yet signed off
on the deal pending assurances it really will deliver peace;
a similar negotiation in 2008 failed.

17. (C) Kayani, who supported the Swat deal, will argue
that he does not have the forces to battle on multiple
fronts, so he is picking his battles and negotiating to
preserve later options. We should push back hard, noting that
it will be difficult for international donors to support a
government that is not prepared to go all-out to defend its
own territory.

. . .vs Capability

18. (S) Now absorbing combat losses against formidable
militants, Pakistan's Frontier Corps (FC) and military
finally have begun to accept more USG training and assistance
in support of counter-insurgency (COIN). Kayani will
appreciate U.S. recognition of the casualties his men have
suffered, and this is an opening we should exploit to press
for expanded FC and special forces (SSG) training. Kayani
remains leery of too large a USG military footprint in
Pakistan, but to win he must be able to fight without
creating the level of civilian casualties his forces' blind
artillery and F-16 bombardments are now producing. We are
responding to Pakistan Air Force requests for Close Air
Support training to improve the precision of F-16s they are
using in FATA. We should probe for the possible introduction
of U.S. military observers/advisors to improve the COIN
capability of this 1940's force.

19. (S) Kayani will repeat his requests for increased
intelligence sharing, notably SIGINT, in support of ongoing
military operations in FATA. Pakistan has agreed to build
additional tripartite Border Coordination Centers (BCCs), and
this month we will expand real-time tactical/target-focused
intelligence sharing through the Torkham BCC. We continue to
work on delivering Intelligence, Surveillance and
Reconnaissance (ISR) aerial capability (two B350-ERs) that
Kayani has raised with all his high-level visitors.

20. (C) The Bush administration's commitment to provide
Pakistan with $300 million annually in FMF expires in 2009,
and we need to come to agreement with Pakistan on how to
restructure its FMF program to meet its long-term COIN needs.
The Pakistan military has requested $1B per year for five
years (FY10-14) in FMF.

21. (C) Kayani may request additional U.S. support for
Pakistan's F-16 program, the flagship symbol of post-9/11
re-engagement. We are about to send to Congress notification
for an additional $142 million in FMF support for one part of
this complex program. But we do not believe Pakistan can
afford to complete a $2 billion plus program to buy 18 new
F-16s, upgrade 35 older aircraft, upgrade a new base, and
fund a munitions package. Given the funding and production

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line implications of either bailing out the GOP or canceling
the program, U.S. agencies are reviewing our options.

22. (C) We could not agree more with Kayani on the need to
modernize Pakistan's helicopter fleet; on any given day, they
have perhaps 2-3 attack helos flying in support of COIN
operations. We now are delivering spare parts for their
Cobra and Bell 412s, overhauling and upgrading their MI-17s,
and assessing ways to improve overall helicopter maintenance.

U.S. Strikes

23. (S) As recent media reports indicate, the U.S. has
eliminated 10 of the top 20 al-Qaida operatives in Pakistan
over the last year. However, the strikes have put increasing
political pressure on the Pakistani government, which has
struggled to explain why it is allowing an ally to violate
its sovereignty. The GOP so far has denied recent media
reports alleging that the U.S. is launching the strikes from
bases in Pakistan. Kayani knows full well that the strikes
have been precise (creating few civilian casualties) and
targeted primarily at foreign fighters in the Waziristans.
He will argue, however, that they undermine his campaign
plan, which is to keep the Waziristans quiet until the Army
is capable of attacking Baitullah Mehsud and other militants
entrenched there. In recent meetings with Special
Representative Holbrooke, a variety of Pakistani
interlocutors (and now the press) suggested that the U.S.
work jointly with Pakistan and target Mehsud or other
militants who are killing Pakistanis.


24. (C) Pakistan-NATO/Afghan cooperation and coordination
across the border has improved dramatically in recent months.
This includes exchanges of tactical intelligence that allows
NATO forces to block passes in support of Pakistani
operations and has helped lower attacks on U.S./NATO forces.
In recent meetings with ISAF Commander McKiernan, Kayani
raised concern about the effect of a U.S. troop build-up in
southern Afghanistan, which could push militants and refugees
across the border into Balochistan and prompt an influx of
foreign fighters. Pakistan currently has only one Army
brigade and perhaps 15 Frontier Corps wings stationed along
the vast and largely unpopulated Pak-Afghan border in

25. (C) Following embarrassing militant attacks on
U.S./NATO convoys last year, Pakistan has made efforts to
secure Khyber Agency/Torkham Gate, through which U.S./NATO
trucks deliver 30% of the fuel and 80% of the dry goods for
our forces in Afghanistan. The troop surge will require us
to send additional supplies through the Chaman (Balochistan)
border crossing in Afghanistan; CENTCOM is now evaluating
ways to improve delivery of supplies through Pakistan.


26. (C) Indo-Pak tensions are still simmering, but to avoid
a potential Indian military strike, the GOP needs to continue
to show progress on prosecuting those Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)
operatives responsible for the Mumbai attacks. India has
welcomed the GOP decision to file formal charges against the
key masterminds of Mumbai; Islamabad now awaits an Indian
response to requests for additional information (forensics,
ballistics reports, etc) from New Delhi to support


27. (S) Although he has remained silent on the subject,
Kayani does not support Zardari's statement last year to the
Indian press that Pakistan would adopt a "no first use"
policy on nuclear weapons. Despite increasing financial
constraints, we believe that the military is proceeding with

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an expansion of both its growing strategic weapons and
missile programs. Pakistan's strategic assets are under the
control of the secular military, which has implemented
extensive physical, personnel and command and control
safeguards. Our major concern has not been that an Islamic
militant could steal an entire weapon but rather the chance
someone working in GOP facilities could gradually smuggle
enough fissile material out to eventually make a weapon and
the vulnerability of weapons in transit. Despite a court
decision to "free" nuclear proliferator A.Q. Khan, the GOP
continues to assure us he remains under significant travel
and media restrictions.

28. (S/Rel Pak) Suggested Talking Points:

-- (S/Rel Pak) What is in the past is behind us. What we
seek going forward is an all-encompassing bilateral
relationship based on what we can accomplish for the future.
We recognize your sacrifices and are well-aware of the
trust-deficit that exists on each side. We must both work to
overcome it.

--(C/Rel Pak) We appreciate your efforts to support stable
civilian democracy in Pakistan and are working to provide a
democracy dividend that improves both economic conditions and
the law and order situation.

-- (S/Rel Pak) We must succeed in Afghanistan. What is your
vision for what constitutes an acceptable outcome?

-- (S/Rel Pak) We want more Pakistani forces deployed to the
western border to fight the militants. What conditions are
necessary for you to reposition forces from the eastern to
the western border?

-- (S/Rel Pak) It is time to cut your ties to extremist
groups/proxy forces and urge the permanent severing of ties.
Such ties hinder trust and our ability to move forward

-- (S/Rel Pak) Our security relationship must move beyond
the provision of equipment, and we seek opportunities to
expand training throughout the military.

-- (S/Rel Pak) Our ability to deliver sustained security
assistance also depends on the Administration securing
Congressional approval. Congress is likely to prioritize
assistance to counterinsurgency-related equipment and
training, as well as align its support with Pakistani
performance in the field.

-- (S/Rel Pak) Strikes in the FATA are succeeding in
eliminating the enemy senior leadership and collateral damage
has been minimal. We are working to provide you with tactical
battlefield intelligence to support your operations in FATA.

Bio Notes

29. (U) General Ashfaq Kayani was born in Punjab in 1952,
grew up in a working-class family and is the son of a former
junior officer. He was commissioned in the Pakistan Army
after graduating from the Pakistan Military Academy in 1971.
His long career has included command at every level from
Company to Corps. He has served in key staff positions, to
include Military Assistant to the Prime Minister under
Benazir Bhutto from 1988-1990, Director General of Military
Operations (DGMO), 2000-2003, Director General, Inter
Services Intelligence (ISI) from 2004-2007, and Vice Chief of
Army Staff in 2007. In November 2007, he became Chief of
Army Staff (COAS). He is the only officer ever to have served
as both DG-ISI and COAS. His term as DGMO coincided with the
intense military standoff with India of 2001-2002.

30. (C) C) In interactions with post, Kayani is often
direct, frank, and thoughtful. He has fond memories of his
IMET training at Fort Leavenworth and values his personal
relationships, particularly with U.S. military leaders.
Kayani is married and the father of two children, a son and a

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daughter. An avid golfer, he is President of the Pakistan
Golf Association. He smokes heavily and can be difficult to
understand as he tends to mumble.