This cable was extensively redacted for release.
SUBJECT: A/S RAPHEL CONSULTATIONS WITH DEPUTY FM CHENYSHEV
1. (U) CLASSIFIED BY JOHN ORDWAY, A/DCM. REASON: 1.5 (B) AND (D).
2. (C) SUMMARY. DURING A/S RAPHEL'S CONSULTATIONS ON AFGHANISTAN, RUSSIAN OFFICIALS DECLINED TO ENGAGE ON THE ISSUE OF RE-ENERGIZING THE UN MISSION, AND PARTICULARLY ON THE WIDESPREAD VIEW IN THE REGION THAT MISSION HEAD MESTIRI SHOULD BE REPLACED. THEY SHOWED VARYING DEGREES OF ENTHUSIASM FOR THE IDEA OF AN ARMS EMBARGO. THE RUSSIANS EXPRESSED A) GRATITUDE FOR U.S. EFFORTS TO FREE THEIR HOSTAGES IN KANDAHAR; B) HOPE FOR A QUICK RESUMPTION OF THE INTER-TAJIK TALKS; AND C) DETERMINATION TO PRESS INDIA TO SIGN THE CTBT. END SUMMARY.
3. (U) DEPUTY FM ALBERT CHENYSHEV HOSTED VISITING SA A/S ROBIN RAPHEL APRIL 30 FOR TALKS DEVOTED MOSTLY TO AFGHANISTAN. CHERNYSHEV WAS JOINED BY KONSTANTIN SHUVALOV, ACTING DIRECTOR OF THE THIRD ASIA DEPARTMENT, AND VYACHESLAV TRUBNIKOV, DIRECTOR FO THE FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SERVICE. EMBASSY MOSCOW POLMINCOUNS, COUNSELOR FOR REGIONAL AFFAIRS, POL/EXT CHIEF AND POLOFF (NOTETAKER) ACCOMPANIED THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY.
THE U.S. PERSPECTIVE ON AFGHANISTAN
4. (C) A/S RAPHEL BEGAN THE READOUT OF HER TRIP THROUGH PAKISTAN, AFGHANISTAN, AND CENTRAL ASIA BY OBSERVING THAT THERE IS A GROWING INTEREST IN WASHINGTON IN RESOLVING THE AFGHAN CONFLICT. IN ADDITION TO OUR TRADITIONAL CONCERNS -- RESTORING REGIONAL POLITICAL STABILITY, INTERDICTING NARCOTICS, AND RELIEVING HUMAN SUFFERING -- THE USG NOW HOPES THAT PEACE IN THE REGION WILL FACILITATE U.S. BUSINESS INTERESTS LIKE THE PROPOSED UNOCAL GAS PIPELINE FROM TURKMENISTAN THROUGH AFGHANISTAN TO PAKISTAN.
A proposed gas pipeline through Afghanistan -- this would have benefitted not just U.S. business interests, but Pakistan as well. This is in addition to Pakistani interests in opening up a trade route through Afghanistan to Central Asia; and, this trade route would have had U.S. support, as well, if for no other reason to help steer the economic benefit away from rival Iran.
5. (C) THE CURRENT SITUATION IN AFGHANISTAN IS FLUID, CONTINUED RAPHEL, WITH A MILITARY STALEMATE ACCOMPANIED BY LIVELY CONTACTS AMONG THE FACTIONS. MOREOVER, SOME OF THE OUTSIDE PARTIES WHO HAVE BEEN MANIPULATING THE FACTIONS (AND HAVE THEMSELVES BEEN MANIPULATED BY THE AFGHANS) ARE TIRING OF THE GAME. [redacted] EMPHASIZING THAT THE U.S DOES NOT BACK ANY FACTION, SHE HOPED THE RUSSIANS UNDERSTAND THAT RUMORS OF U.S. SUPPORT FOR THE TALIBAN WERE AN IRANIAN CANARD.
Recall from Part 21 how we saw that Russia had "more than one Afghan policy." We then speculated how and why that might have also been the case for the United States.
Consequently, concerns that the US might have been supporting the Taliban may have been well-founded, even though A/S Raphel might not have had any knowledge of any Americans involved in supporting them.
Was this covert U.S. policy? Was this the activity of rogue elements in the U.S. government, allied with U.S. business interests?
In this context, it is interesting to consider some of what Sibel Edmonds saw, which dates back almost to the time under consideration in this message; from The Highjacking of a Nation, Part 2: The Auctioning of Former Statesmen & Dime a Dozen Generals by Sibel Edmonds, November 29, 2006:
The foreign influence, the lobbyists, the current highly positioned civil servants who are determined future 'wanna be' lobbyists, and the fat cats of the Military Industrial Complex, operate successfully under the radar, with unlimited reach and power, with no scrutiny, while selling your interests, benefiting from your tax money, and serving the highest bidders regardless of what or who they may be. This deep state seems to operate at all levels of our government; from the President's office to Congress, from the military quarters to the civil servants' offices.
Returning now to our May 13, 1996, cable:
6. (C) THERE ARE AT LEAST TWO TRACKS TO PURSUE IN WORKING TO RESOLVE THE AFGHAN CONFLICT, RAPHEL CONCLUDED: INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL. ON THE INTERNAL SIDE, A RE-ENERGIZED UN MISSION NEEDS TO PUSH THE FACTIONS TO CUT A DEAL. [redacted] THIS SENTIMENT IS SO PERVASIVE THAT IT IS BECOMING DIFFICULT TO IGNORE.
7. (C) ON THE EXTERNAL SIDE, SAID RAPHEL, OUTSIDE POWERS MUST RECOGNIZE THAT A BROADLY-BASED AFGHAN GOVERNMENT THAT IS NOT UNFRIENDLY TO THEIR INTERESTS WOULD BE AN ACCEPTABLE ALTERNATIVE TO THE INCREASINGLY UNLIKELY OPTION OF HAVING THEIR FAVORED FACTION EMERGE COMPLETELY TRIUMPHANT. A LOGICAL MANIFESTATION OF THIS RECOGNITION, SHE ASSERTED, WOULD BE THE IMPOSITION OF AN ARMS EMBARGO ON ALL THE AFGHAN FACTIONS, AS UZBEKISTAN AND OTHERS ARE SEEKING. THE U.S., SHE CONCLUDED, WOULD BE ACTIVELY EXPLORING THIS IDEA IN THE COMING MONTHS.
And an Afghan government, with extensive support from Afghanistan's many Pashtuns and with extensive support from across the border in Pakistan, "not unfriendly" to U.S. interests, is what was being cooked up; and that government, the Taliban, was about to seize Kabul.
Continued in Part 32.