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id: 52597

date: 2/11/2006 5:19

refid: 06DUSHANBE276

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

classification: UNCLASSIFIED

destination:

header:

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DE RUEHDBU #0276 0420519

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

P R 110519Z FEB 06

FM AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6671

INFO RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE 7775

----------------- header ends ----------------

UNCLAS DUSHANBE 000276

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, SCA/PPD, R, P, EUR, DRL, S/P

NSC FOR MERKEL

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: KPAO, KISL, KDEM, PREL, TI

SUBJECT: REQUEST TO DOUBLE AMERICAN CORNERS IN TAJIKISTAN

1.  This is an action request.  See para six  below.

2.  The Ambassador's February 7 visit to the American Corner in

Khujand, where he met with FLEX alumni and was warmly welcomed

by provincial and city education officials, reaffirms the

enormous value of American Corners in Tajikistan - and the

government's receptive attitude toward them.

3.  Public diplomacy is the sine qua non for advancing U.S.

interests in the pivotal country of Tajikistan, a front-line

state in the Secretary's initiative to rebuild historic links

between Central and South Asia and to effect transformational

diplomacy in challenging parts of the world.

4.  We suggest five reasons to double the number of American

Corners in Tajikistan:

-- BOOST TO U.S. POLICY:  These small centers aggressively

support key regional policy priorities:  promoting democratic

processes and mutual understanding.   The Ambassador led a

February 7 roundtable discussion with 20 students at the

American Corner at the Central Library in Khujand, where

students asked pressing and pointed questions about free speech,

the current cartoon controversy, and racism in the United

States.  Participants demonstrated a strong knowledge and

curiosity about different ways of approaching religion, ethnic

differences and democracy.  These open and enquiring students

are the next generation of Tajikistan's leaders.

--REASONABLE COST:  American Corners are enormously

cost-effective.  An American Corner costs approximately $50,000

to set up and $10,000 per year to run.  In return, thousands of

Tajik students and citizens get access to books, DVDs, movies,

news and, perhaps most important, Internet.  They also provide a

read-made venue for American-citizen programming.  Our message

is made available in an open environment where it is, so far,

warmly welcome and widely appreciated.

-- IMPROVED ACCESS:  Most Tajiks cannot yet afford private

access to the Internet or satellite television.  American

Corners provide Tajiks the chance to see something other than

the largely anti-U.S. Russian media.  Even the posters on the

walls in the Khujand American Corner reinforced messages of

democracy, free trade, tolerance, and diversity that are the

cornerstones of U.S. values and the central message of our

public diplomacy.  Access is a two-way street -- our access to

every-day Tajiks also grows.  At the Ambassador's recent program

at the Khujand American Corner, the Public Affairs Section got

20 new requests to be included on Embassy press release mailings.

-- HIGH VISIBILITY FOR THE UNTIED STATES:  American Corners

provide an attractive physical space and forum for discussion

that does not exist elsewhere in Tajikistan.  They are a safe

place to explore ideas and topics that are not always popular

with the old schools of thought.  Students told the Ambassador

how much they appreciated the facility.  It demonstrates the

best of American intentions at a time when our relationship with

the Muslim world is frequently misunderstood.

-- AMERICAN CORNERS WORK:  The volume and enthusiasm of visitors

speaks to their effectiveness.  While traveling, EmbOffs

frequently are asked to bring American Corners to various small

cities and universities.   If imitation is the sincerest form of

flattery, the fact the UK Embassy just opened a "British room"

at a local educational institute demonstrated how effective a

tool the American Corners have been.

5.  Within the current $2.7 trillion budget proposal, the

several hundred thousand dollars - a proverbial drop in the

bucket - it would cost to double the number of American Corners

in a receptive Tajikistan would be a miniscule investment with

potentially huge pay-off.  Given the funds, we could quickly and

effectively establish American Corners in Khorog, Kurgon-Tyube,

Garm, Konibodom, Turson-Zoda, and a host of other Tajik cities

where our American footprint would be welcome.

6.  ACTION REQUEST:  To support the Secretary's vision of

transformational diplomacy, especially in a moderate Muslim

country whose sovereignty is increasingly threatened by a

resurgent Russian neo-colonial nationalism, we request funds to

establish a minimum of six new American Corners.

HOAGLAND

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

id: 52598

date: 2/11/2006 5:56

refid: 06DUSHANBE277

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

classification: UNCLASSIFIED

destination:

header:

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INFO RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE 7776

----------------- header ends ----------------

UNCLAS DUSHANBE 000277

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, SCA/PPD, R, P, EUR, DRL, S/P

NSC FOR MERKEL

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: KPAO, KISL, KDEM, PREL, TI

SUBJECT: REQUEST TO DOUBLE AMERICAN CORNERS IN TAJIKISTAN

1.  This is an action request.  See para six  below.

2.  The Ambassador's February 7 visit to the American Corner in

Khujand, where he met with FLEX alumni and was warmly welcomed

by provincial and city education officials, reaffirms the

enormous value of American Corners in Tajikistan - and the

government's receptive attitude toward them.

3.  Public diplomacy is the sine qua non for advancing U.S.

interests in the pivotal country of Tajikistan, a front-line

state in the Secretary's initiative to rebuild historic links

between Central and South Asia and to effect transformational

diplomacy in challenging parts of the world.

4.  We suggest five reasons to double the number of American

Corners in Tajikistan:

-- BOOST TO U.S. POLICY:  These small centers aggressively

support key regional policy priorities:  promoting democratic

processes and mutual understanding.   The Ambassador led a

February 7 roundtable discussion with 20 students at the

American Corner at the Central Library in Khujand, where

students asked pressing and pointed questions about free speech,

the current cartoon controversy, and racism in the United

States.  Participants demonstrated a strong knowledge and

curiosity about different ways of approaching religion, ethnic

differences and democracy.  These open and enquiring students

are the next generation of Tajikistan's leaders.

-- REASONABLE COST:  American Corners are enormously

cost-effective.  An American Corner costs approximately $50,000

to set up and $10,000 per year to run.  In return, thousands of

Tajik students and citizens get access to books, DVDs, movies,

news and, perhaps most important, Internet.  They also provide a

read-made venue for American-citizen programming.  Our message

is made available in an open environment where it is, so far,

warmly welcome and widely appreciated.

-- IMPROVED ACCESS:  Most Tajiks cannot yet afford private

access to the Internet or satellite television.  American

Corners provide Tajiks the chance to see something other than

the largely anti-U.S. Russian media.  Even the posters on the

walls in the Khujand American Corner reinforced messages of

democracy, free trade, tolerance, and diversity that are the

cornerstones of U.S. values and the central message of our

public diplomacy.  Access is a two-way street -- our access to

every-day Tajiks also grows.  At the Ambassador's recent program

at the Khujand American Corner, the Public Affairs Section got

20 new requests to be included on Embassy press release mailings.

-- HIGH VISIBILITY FOR THE UNITED STATES:  American Corners

provide an attractive physical space and forum for discussion

that does not exist elsewhere in Tajikistan.  They are a safe

place to explore ideas and topics that are not always popular

with the old schools of thought.  Students told the Ambassador

how much they appreciated the facility.  It demonstrates the

best of American intentions at a time when our relationship with

the Muslim world is frequently misunderstood.

-- AMERICAN CORNERS WORK:  The volume and enthusiasm of visitors

speaks to their effectiveness.  While traveling, EmbOffs

frequently are asked to bring American Corners to various small

cities and universities.   If imitation is the sincerest form of

flattery, the fact the UK Embassy just opened a "British room"

at a local educational institute demonstrates how effective a

tool the American Corners have been.

5.  Within the current $2.7 trillion budget proposal, the

several hundred thousand dollars - a proverbial drop in the

bucket - it would cost to double the number of American Corners

in a receptive Tajikistan would be a miniscule investment with

potentially huge pay-off.  Given the funds, we could quickly and

effectively establish American Corners in Khorog, Kurgon-Tyube,

Garm, Konibodom, Turson-Zoda, and a host of other Tajik cities

where our American footprint would be welcome.

6.  ACTION REQUEST:  To support the Secretary's vision of

transformational diplomacy, especially in a moderate Muslim

country on Afghanistan's border, whose sovereignty is

increasingly threatened by a resurgent Russian neo-colonial

nationalism, we request funds to establish a minimum of six new

American Corners.

HOAGLAND

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

id: 52600

date: 2/11/2006 6:31

refid: 06DUSHANBE278

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

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----------------- header ends ----------------

UNCLAS DUSHANBE 000278

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

SSTATE FOR SCA/CEN, EUR

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: SNAR, PGOV, TI

SUBJECT: TAJIKISTAN'S RECENT UPSURGE IN VIOLENCE HIGHLIGHTED BY

GOVERNMENT HYPE

1. (SBU)  Since the beginning of the year, the local media have

reported a number of killings of government security officials.

The Tajik government often linked the murders to the Islamic

Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).  However, no credible links to the

IMU have been proven.  Because of the reported up-tick in

violence, the Tajik government has increased the number of

border troops on alert and patrolling-law enforcement officials

throughout the country.  Government sources tell Post's Senior

Law Enforcement Advisor (SLEA) that President Rahmonov has met

with security ministers three or four times since the beginning

of January.

2. (SBU)  The press reported that members of the IMU attacked

the Kairakum prison in Sughd Oblast to release a fellow member

on January 25.   In the process, a prison official was killed.

One of the attackers is reportedly the brother of the freed

inmate.  Embassy sources said it is not certain the attackers

and inmates belong to the IMU, but may be simply involved in

criminal organizations.  Border troops were sent to Sughd Oblast

to control Tajikistan's northern border with Kyrgyzstan and

search for the attackers, who may come from the Tajik border

town of Isfara.

3. (SBU)  Another recent high-profile murder was of the Head of

the Military Institute, Hokimsho Hofizov, assassinated on

January 27.  The press speculates that Oleg Kosolapov, a former

colleague of Colonel Mahmud Khudoberdiyev, was involved in the

murder.  (NOTE: Khudoberdiyev, in the opposition during the

Tajik Civil War, is now exiled in Uzbekistan where he is widely

believed to be supported by Uzbek security forces.  He was an

ally of Hofizov, until Hofizov turned against him and sided with

Tajikistan's ruling government.  END NOTE.)

4. (SBU)  In addition, a source from the Ministry of Interior

told SLEA that nine police officers have been killed in the line

of duty so far this year.  The number includes border guards,

officers killed by landmines, and officers killed in firefights

with drug traffickers.  Two law-enforcement officials were

recently murdered in Khorog.  The majority of reported incidents

occurred along the Tajik-Afghan border.

5. (SBU)  COMMENT:  The recent crimes may be the result of

internal government strife, corruption, drug-related disputes,

or IMU or other extremists' attacks - the kind of unfortunately

normal criminal-political violence that occurs in any country

like Tajikistan.  The Tajik government may be blaming the

violence on the IMU as a way to divert attention from internal

issues.  But it is important to note that this is a low level of

violence for any country.  In a presidential election year, the

emphasis on publicizing security problems could possibly be a

government desire to show the people that Tajikistan is not yet

completely secure and the need exists for continuity at the top

to ensure stability.  Post considers the overall political

situation in Tajikistan to be extremely stable.  Regardless of

which theory eventually proves true, none of the violence is

directed towards Western or, specifically,  American interests.

END COMMENT.

HOAGLAND

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

id: 52670

date: 2/13/2006 5:28

refid: 06DUSHANBE279

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

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destination: 06STATE19516

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----------------- header ends ----------------

C O N F I D E N T I A L DUSHANBE 000279

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

SCA/CEN

E.O. 12958: DECL:  2/13/2016

TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PARM, KNNP, IR, AORC, TI

SUBJECT: TAJIKISTAN:  IRAN POINTS DELIVERED

REF: STATE 19516

CLASSIFIED BY: Richard Hoagland, Ambassador, EXEC, State.

REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

1. (C) Post delivered reftel talking points on February 10 on

the IAEA decision to report Iran to the UN Security Council

along with the President's and Secretary's talking points.

Ismatullo Nasredinov, Head of the Department of European and

American Countries at the MFA accepted the points and said he

would immediately convey points to the Foreign Minister.

Nasredinov said this is a "serious" issue that will likely be

raised with President Rahmonov.  Nasredinov expressed

Tajikistan's "difficult position:"  Tajikistan is against

nuclear research for weapons purposes and must heed the

international community's decision, however, Tajikistan can not

come out too strongly against Iran because of Tajikistan's

development projects funded by Iran and hopes for increased

Iranian investment.  Nasredinov predicted that if Tajikistan had

to vote in the General Assembly on the issue, it might abstain.

2. (U) Kabul minimize considered.

HOAGLAND

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

id: 52683

date: 2/13/2006 8:36

refid: 06DUSHANBE284

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----------------- header ends ----------------

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 DUSHANBE 000284

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR P, R, E, SCA/CEN, SCA/PPD, EUR/ACE, DRL, S/P

EUR FOR DAS BRYZA

E.O. 12958: DECL:  2/13/2016

TAGS: PREL, PGOV, ECON, EAID, KPAO, KDEM, RS, UZ, KG, TI

SUBJECT: KHUJAND, THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA OF TAJIKISTAN

REF: DUSHANBE 0277

CLASSIFIED BY: Richard E. Hoagland, Ambassador, EXEC, Embassy

Dushanbe.

REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

1.  (C) SUMMARY:  Khujand, Tajikistan's "second city," in the

Ferghana Valley and separated from Dushanbe by a formidable

mountain range, represents what Tajikistan could be - not a

democratic paradise, but a confident, relatively progressive,

stable society open to new ideas and cautiously resistant to

negative ideological pressure.  The educated population,

well-disposed to the United States, have maintained their

dignity in desperate economic circumstances.  They are

sophisticated, inquisitive, and welcoming.  The subtle sense,

sometimes oppressive, of authoritarian political correctness

that pervades other parts of the western half of Tajikistan,

especially around Kulob, but even to a degree in Dushanbe, is

much less evident.  Even government officials readily speak

their minds, and seem relaxed about it.  Khujand gives us reason

to believe in the Central Asian "corridor of reform."  END

SUMMARY.

2.  (SBU) The Ambassador, POL/ECON Chief, A/PAO, and a LES

support staff visited Khujand February 7-8 and met with

journalists, students, development workers, small-business

entrepreneurs, and government officials.  Alexander the Great

founded Khujand two and a half millennia ago as "Alexandria

Eskhata," "Further Alexandria," a name that is still recalled in

the up-and-coming private Eskhata Bank, which has the youngest

executive leadership of any bank in Tajikistan.  The peg for the

trip was for the Ambassador to cut the ribbon for a $4.4 million

donation of medicines from Project Hope for hospitals and

clinics in Khujand and Sogdh Oblast, but the cargo plane was

delayed eight hours.  The delegation instead toured Bobojon

Ghaffurov District Hospital, one of the primary recipients for

the Project Hope donation.

3.  (C) Khujand, located in the Ferghana Valley, is different

from Dushanbe and even more strikingly so from Kulob in Khatlon

Oblast in the south.  During the Soviet era, Khujand, then known

as Leninabad, was the industrial, intellectual, and cultural

center of Tajikistan.  Khujandis, dignified and restrained in

their disappointment at lack of power, look down on the

currently dominant Kulobis as less-educated hick thugs, who,

nevertheless, currently have a lock on power and, thus, the

economy.

4.  (C) Although the Khujand authorities provided police escort

and protocol minders (the junior protocol officer was likely

from the Ministry of Security) for the Ambassador at all times,

they made no effort to interfere with the pre-arranged program -

a marked contrast to Kulob's authorities who ham-fistedly

hijacked the Ambassador's itinerary and intimidated our

interlocutors last year.  In fact, the senior protocol officer

seemed pleased to have someone to listen to his monologues on

life in Khujand.  He became so enthusiastic about his visitors

that he proposed a joint summer vacation, away from all work, at

a lake in the valley.  The city authorities also inserted a

journalist and cameraman from Khujand State TV into all events

and meetings.  But they, too, were not disruptive, and we judged

that a camera in the face at all times was a small price to pay

for the wall-to-wall TV coverage of a U.S. visit - and to

demonstrate that we had nothing at all to hide during such an

official visit.

DUSHANBE 00000284  002 OF 003

5.  (C) Khujand is still post-Soviet, post-Civil War poor.

Mayor Olimjon Jalolov understands that infrastructure

maintenance is essential but made clear he has no funds for it.

By example, he told us the city has about 450 kilometers of

streets and roads badly in need of repaving, but the budget for

that purpose is under $100K.  The city has about 620 high-rise

Soviet-era apartment buildings, and about half the roofs are in

critical need of repair.  And yet, there is more money

circulating than just several years ago.  We heard that

Khujandis last year spent $21 million on foreign personal

vehicles (Mercedes-Benzes on every street), and there is a boom

in residential construction, as elsewhere in the country.

During an official lunch when the topic of the mushroom growth

of mini-mansions came up, one American officer commented,

"Especially around Kulob," making reference to the Kulobi

dominance of the economy.  The Khujandi hosts were delighted,

laughed, shook the officer's hand, and offered yet another vodka

toast, as happens when someone makes an especially telling point.

6.  (SBU) Mayor Jalolov made a rather pro-forma request for the

United States to establish joint ventures to get the vast number

of idle, decrepit, in fact hopeless, Soviet-era factories back

into production.  More seriously, he noted that the United

States seems to have lost interest in the critical ecological

problem of dangerous uranium-tailing sites in the area.  The

Ambassador assured him the United States has not lost sight of

the problem and that we hope for new attention to this issue

soon.  (NOTE:  EmbOffs had already visited the site that week.

END NOTE.)

7.  (C) The one issue we heard everywhere was the problem of

Uzbekistan's strangling visa regime and near blockade of the

region.  The blockade is not only visas, affecting business and

personal travel, but also includes parsimonious provision of

annually-agreed Uzbek electricity to Khujand, which harms

business activity and makes life generally miserable - a fact we

can attest to because the public buildings and private hotels we

experienced were frigid.

8.  (C) By contrast, our interlocutors praised relations with

Kyrgyzstan and the ease of crossing the border:  "We almost seem

like one country.  In general, Khujandis look first to

Kyrgyzstan for trade and commerce and have little awareness yet

of possibilities in Afghanistan.  The Anzob Tunnel is scheduled

to open in 2006, providing an all-year land route south, but the

Khujandis so far seemed to see this mainly as a link to

Dushanbe.

9.  (C) The Ambassador asked at several meetings if the

Khujandis thought that Russia would possibly mediate the

problems with Uzbekistan, including the harsh visa regime, now

that Uzbekistan has joined the Eurasian Economic Community, and

now that Tashkent has a "new best friend" relationship with

Moscow.  Universally, our interlocutors rolled their eyes and

made clear they expect no improvement so long as President

Karimov remains in power.  In one telling comment, when the

Ambassador asked why Uzbekistan is so difficult, the response

was, "You [the United States] have had only 15 years of problems

with Uzbekistan - we've had a thousand years."  To the same

question, Mayor Jalolov replied he was not prepared with an

official response but would be glad to give his personal

opinion, which he did and which was far from positive.

(COMMENT:  That a senior official would readily proffer a

personal opinion is further evidence of the remarkable openness

of the Khujandis.  END COMMENT.)

DUSHANBE 00000284  003 OF 003

10.  (C) Khujandis know a better way of life is possible.  At

the Bobojon Ghaffurov District Hospital, an oblast health

official asked for the U.S. to provide equipment for endoscopic

surgery and the latest technology for cardiovascular

micro-surgery.  This was in a frightenly sad bare-bones building

that would not stand comparison with early 20th-century U.S.

medical facilities.  But the medical staff were clearly

dedicated to providing the best service with what little they

had.  The hospital officials were almost embarrassingly

insistent on proving to the Ambassador that they were using U.S.

medical donations effectively and responsibly and keeping a

careful log of every single tablet dispensed.

11.  (SBU) As almost everywhere in the world, the hope for a

better future is with the younger generation.  The highlight of

our visit was with about 20 FLEX-alumni young people at the

American Corner where the city library director and officials

from the oblast Ministry of Education warmly welcomed us, and

appeared genuinely to enjoy the lively give-and-take between the

Ambassador and the gratifyingly well-informed young people.

12.  (C) COMMENT:  Academic exchange programs, and the American

Corners that provide refuge and support to the young alumni and

many others, are the most important and cost-effective U.S.

long-term investment we can make to achieve eventual results for

our commitment to Transformational Diplomacy.  We have asked

(reftel) to double the number of American Corners in Tajikistan.

 The door is still open to us.  We really must take advantage of

the opportunity while it exists.  We do not mean to be alarmist,

but we want to point out that Moscow's current policy to

dominate its neighbors may eventually close that door to us

unless we stay pro-actively engaged.  END COMMENT.

HOAGLAND

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

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----------------- header ends ----------------

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DUSHANBE 000300

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PARM, PREL, KHDP, TI

SUBJECT: TAJIKISTAN HUMANITARIAN DEMINING: REQUEST FOR PM SUPPORT

REF: HARRIS - ARMBRUSTER E-MAILS 2/13/2006

1.  Post appreciates PM/WRA information (reftel) and strongly

supports further engagement on demining in Tajikistan, including

a Policy Assessment Visit and funding for the Tajik Mine Action

Committee through the United Nations Development Program.

MINES ALONG THE AFGHAN BORDER

2.  Russia laid antipersonnel mines inside Tajikistan with the

consent of the Tajik government in accordance with a 1993

military cooperation agreement.  The Russians laid the mines

prior to October 2000 on the Tajik side of the Pyanzh River to

protect Tajikistan from invasion by the Taliban.  Since then,

the rationale for landmines was expanded to include blocking

illegal drug trafficking.  Russia removed all border guard

troops in 2005, though some advisors remain, but did not remove

the mines from the Afghan border.

AND THE UZBEK BORDER

3.  While the mines along the Afghan border were laid with Tajik

government acquiescence, Tajikistan has protested the use of

antipersonnel mines by Uzbekistan, allegedly inside Tajik

territory.  Uzbekistan reportedly sowed mines in Tajikistan from

2000 until at least June 2001.  The official justification was

to protect Uzbekistan from attack by the Islamic Movement of

Uzbekistan and to prevent drugs and arms smugglers from entering

the country.  However, the border with Uzbekistan is contested

and Tajikistan claims mines are laid up to 500 meters inside of

Tajik territory.  Media reports claim that up to 70% of the

Tajik-Uzbek border is mined and there are regular reports of

civilians and livestock injured or killed in these regions.

AND CENTRAL TAJIKISTAN

4.  Mines and unexploded ordinance left over from the Tajik

Civil War remains a serious threat inside Tajikistan.  Both

sides in the Civil War used antipersonnel mines and they remain

a hazard in the central part of the country, mainly the Rasht

Valley where the Tajik Mine Action Committee has so far focused

its efforts.

IMPACT

5.  Tajikistan is 93% mountainous, so arable land is scarce and

too valuable to waste.  Farm families and their livestock

continue to be victims of landmines.  Hundreds of people in

Gorno-Badakshan, Sugdh, and Khatlon region have been killed or

wounded by landmines.

REQUESTS FOR ASSISTANCE

6.  There are two requests for assistance outstanding with the

Embassy.  First, is an equipment list from the Ministry of

Defense for demining activities.  Second, is the request from

the Tajik Mine Action Committee, a UN-affiliated organization

with Tajik Government representation, for $3.2 million to

support demining activities for 2006.  (Both requests forwarded

to PM by e-mail 2/14.)  Tajik Mine Action has not received

donations for 2006 and staff have not received salaries for the

past two months.  Tajik Mine Action provides mine clearing (in

the spring through early fall due to snowfall), assistance to

survivors, education, advocacy, and planning, monitoring and

coordination.  Tajik Mine Action is interested in K9's and K9

support and shelters, demining machines, and money for ongoing

operations.  The Embassy has provided funds to Tajik Mine Action

for minefield warning signs, and the State Department has

provided funds to the OSCE for demining activities.  Post

strongly supports a Policy Assessment Visit to better determine

the needs and priorities for U.S. assistance.

DUSHANBE 00000300  002 OF 002

EMBASSY ENDORSEMENT OF DEMINING ACTIVITIES

7.  Addressing the minefields with Afghanistan and Uzbekistan

would increase regional dialogue, enhance Tajikistan's

agricultural output, and provide much-needed humanitarian

assistance.  Demining in Tajikistan is consistent with the

Embassy Mission Program Plan to help secure Tajikistan's border

and supports the State Department's Humanitarian Mine Action

Strategic Plan.  Demining would protect victims of conflict,

restore access to land, develop Tajik national capacity,

demonstrate support for an ally in the War on Terror, promote

conflict resolution, and improve global humanitarian mine action

response.  Specifically, funding demining in Tajikistan will

enable the Republic of Tajikistan to expedite the process of

clearing the over 250,000 square meters of mined territory.

8.  Requests for donor assistance from the government of

Tajikistan and Tajik Mine Action Committee sent by e-mail to

PM/WRA.

9.  Tajikistan acceded to the Ottawa Convention on April 30,

2003 and is a signatory to the Amended Protocol II of the

Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.

HOAGLAND

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

id: 52898

date: 2/14/2006 11:44

refid: 06DUSHANBE301

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

classification: CONFIDENTIAL

destination: 06DUSHANBE63

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RUEHML/AMEMBASSY MANILA 0015

RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE 7807

----------------- header ends ----------------

C O N F I D E N T I A L DUSHANBE 000301

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

EMBASSY MANILA: PLEASE PASS TO ADB AMBASSADOR SPELTZ

E.O. 12958: DECL:  2/14/2016

TAGS: PREL, ECON, EAID, EINV

SUBJECT: CHINA WANTS TO BE A GOOD, BUT DISCREET, NEIGHBOR TO

TAJIKISTAN

REF: DUSHANBE 63

CLASSIFIED BY: Richard Hoagland, Ambassador, US Embassy

Dushanbe, State.

REASON: 1.4 (b)

1.  (SBU)  China shares the United States' desire to see an

economically stable Tajikistan, but is keeping its specific

investment and trade priorities close hold.  Chinese Trade

Representative Wan Shungan told PolOff and BISNIS representative

February 13 that China regards infrastructure and hydropower

projects as emerging industries, but declined to elaborate on

other sectors for Chinese investment, or the specifics of

China's trade relations in Central Asia.

2.  (SBU)  "Tajikistan is our neighbor," said Shungan, so

Beijing has a natural interest in helping Tajikistan develop.

However, as a market, Tajikistan is less attractive.  China

exported close to $120 million to Tajikistan in 2004, mainly in

light industrial machinery.  China also exported some consumer

goods, but not in significant quantities by Chinese standards.

Shungan demurred when asked whether Tajikistan served as a

transit route for Chinese goods and showed little interest in

the transportation link to South Asia when the bridge at Nizhniy

Pyanzh opens in Summer 2007.

3.  (C)  Shungan confirmed recent press reports the Chinese

planned to build a hydropower station at Shurob, but said they

were still conducting the feasibility study.  Once completed,

the tender would be open to Chinese firms only.  Shungan

acknowledged that they were also exploring other areas for

hydropower investment but declined to elaborate.  (Note: Two

Deputy Energy Ministers told PolOff the Chinese were moving

quickly to conduct feasibility studies on the Varzob Cascade,

and the South-North transmission lines from Dushanbe to Khujand

(reftel). END NOTE.)  Shungan indicated the Chinese would

provide their own financing and contractors for their

investments.

4.  (C)  Aside from infrastructure, Shungan made no mention of

other Chinese interests or investments in Tajikistan.  (NOTE:

He failed to mention the more than 150 Chinese workers producing

metal frames and rebar at a Chinese-Tajik joint venture in

Yavan; a Chinese-owned armaments factory in Khorog; or the

Chinese commitment to rehabilitate the road at Sharshar Pass.

END NOTE)

5.  (SBU)  Shungan seemed dubious that China would import Tajik

produce or food stuffs, although he noted there was a growing

demand in China for "ecologically clean" fruits and vegetables

which may provide a market for Tajik agriculture.  Shungan's

comments remained extremely guarded throughout the hour-long

conversation, despite PolOff's assurances that the United States

welcomed all foreign investment too boost Tajikistan's economy

and recognized the special relationship China has as a neighbor.

6.  (C)  COMMENT:  China clearly has economic interests in

Tajikistan, as its neighbor and as an investment possibility,

but seems unlikely to take a public role as a donor country

influencing Tajikistan's foreign policy, preferring instead to

influence regional policy through the Shanghai Cooperation

Organization.  AES told PolOff in January they are interested in

partnering with China on a hydropower station; given Shungan's

insistence that only Chinese companies would construct the

Chinese-financed projects, this seems unlikely, unless

negotiated outside Tajikistan.

7.  (C)  COMMENT CONTINUED:  Tajik government officials have

expressed varying degrees of interest and concern at China's

growing involvement.  One Deputy Energy Minister noted that

China acts fast while the United States hesitates (reftel),

while another cautioned that China was moving so quickly, it was

committing to projects without much research or thought.  Many

Tajiks laugh at the poor quality of Chinese goods available on

the local markets, indicating that China could easily have

competition if Russian or Western goods become available at

comparable prices. END COMMENT

ARMBRUSTER

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

id: 52909

date: 2/14/2006 12:33

refid: 06DUSHANBE302

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

destination:

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RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0947

RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 1423

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS 0746

RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE 7808

RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE

RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 1370

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RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

----------------- header ends ----------------

UNCLAS DUSHANBE 000302

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

FOR SCOTT GREENIP, TDA

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL, PGOV, ELTN, ECON, TI, AF

SUBJECT: TAJIK TRANSPORT MINISTER PLEASED WITH BRIDGE

1.  On his first visit to the U.S.-funded bridge construction

site at Nizhniy Pyanzh, Transportation Minister Ashurov

expressed great satisfaction and offered to get involved

personally if problems arise regarding the cement supply or

customs.  During the February 13 visit with PolOff and a

visiting Trade And Development Agency transportation mission,

Ashurov reported that President Rahmonov asked him about the

project two days earlier, and was waiting for a full briefing

after Ashurov's trip.

2.  Ashurov had requested the visit during a January 27 meeting

with PolOff, noting he had not been to the site since the June

2005 groundbreaking ceremony.  He expressed mild dissatisfaction

that even he, the Minister of Transportation, needed special

permission to get access to the site.  The Project Engineer told

Ashurov that he and technical specialists from the Ministry

would be welcome at any time, provided they make arrangements

through the Embassy, assuaging Ashurov's concern.

3.  Progress at the bridge was visible.  The Project Engineer

noted that Tajik customs had held up some equipment for a

period, and a change in the management of the state cement

factory threatened to delay work.  Ashurov observed that there

had been a trilateral agreement between the U.S., Afghan, and

Tajik governments, and the contractor, and he would get

personally involved with any further customs disputes to ensure

the project stayed on track.  The Deputy Head of Khatlon

province asked some pointed questions about safety conditions

and wages for Tajik workers.

4.  The seven-hour round trip car ride provided ample

opportunity to discuss other transportation priorities.  Ashurov

noted road rehabilitation for major transit corridors had

attracted significant foreign attention, and many projects were

in various stages of planning and financing.  The Japanese are

rehabilitating 23 km of road from the bridge to Dusti, which

then links to the main highway to Dushanbe.  A Chinese

feasibility study of rebuilding the Sharshar pass by Nurek

should lead to a grant for that project.  The Asian Development

Bank has taken the lead on other significant road projects,

including the strategically and commercially vital road from

Dushanbe, through the Rasht Valley, to the Kyrgyz border.

5.  Although Tajik roads take a beating from flooding, rains,

and avalanches, the minister admitted there was not much

planning for minor maintenance and repairs; local governments

held that responsibility, but did not always allocate resources

for roads.  However, budgets for maintenance have increased on

the local and national level - last year the central government

spent 40 million somoni (approx. $13 million) on road

maintenance and repair.

6.  Ashurov made a plug for developing a tram/streetcar system

in Dushanbe to connect the city center to the fast-growing

residential regions on the outskirts.  He suggested getting used

streetcars from Europe or America to build the system.   Ashurov

is a career employee of the Transportation Ministry - he

referred to himself as an "automobilist" several times - and

took a great technical interest in the bridge and other possible

projects.

7.  (SBU)  COMMENT:  Ashurov, a career employee of the Ministry

of Transport, got into the weeds on the technical aspects of the

bridge and seemed pleased with what he saw and heard.  His

personal interest may well smooth the way and help keep this

strategic project on track.  He enjoys a reputation as an honest

cabinet member, respected by the President, if not in the inner

circle, and should prove to be a key partner in the Central

Asian Infrastructure Integration Initiative.  END COMMENT.

HOAGLAND

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

id: 53030

date: 2/15/2006 5:54

refid: 06DUSHANBE304

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

classification: CONFIDENTIAL

destination: 06DUSHANBE72

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RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE

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RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC

RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL

RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

RHMFISS/HQ USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL

RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 1426

RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE PRIORITY 1460

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0950

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY 0749

RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE 7811

----------------- header ends ----------------

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 DUSHANBE 000304

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, SCA/PPD, EUR/PPD, DRL, R, S/P

STATE ALSO FOR EUR DAS BRYZA

NSC FOR MILLARD, MERKEL

E.O. 12958: DECL:  2/15/2016

TAGS: PGOV, PREL, KDEM, KPAO, UK, TI

SUBJECT: BBC IN DUSHANBE:  "DON'T DIS A SMALL COUNTRY AND YOU CAN GET

YOUR FREQUENCY BACK"

REF: DUSHANBE 0072

CLASSIFIED BY: Richard E. Hoagland, Ambassador, EXEC, Embassy

Dushanbe.

REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

1.  (C) In a surprisingly tough meeting February 14, the

Ambassador joined his European and OSCE colleagues for what was

supposed to have been a joint Western demarche about the BBC

Tajik Service having lost its permission January 10 to broadcast

on FM-106 in Dushanbe (reftel).  French Ambassador Pierre

Andrieu, UK DCM Margaret Beloff, and OSCE Deputy Head of Mission

Andrey Shugurov also participated.  Foreign Minister Talbak

Nazarov headed the Tajik phalanx along with Communications

Minister Said Zubaidov, Chairman of Radio and Television

Broadcasting Asadullo Rahmonov, and Head of the Foreign

Ministry's Legal Department Sherali Jononov who took notes but

said nothing.

2.  (C) UK Ambassador Graeme Loten had requested the joint

meeting about ten days earlier, but the MFA sprang the meeting

on the Western side with three hours notice, possibly because EU

regional Ambassador Adriaan van der Meer had raised the issue

with President Rahmonov February 12.  Loten was out of town on

other business, and Beloff was not well-prepared for the

meeting.  Ambassador Andrieu took the lead, playing the role of

honest broker exceptionally well.  Even the often-strange

Shugurov tried to be helpful.

3.  (C) Because Foreign Minister Nazarov had previously told the

U.S. and French Ambassadors and German Charge individually that

he had the highest respect for BBC, which had "never once done

anything to harm Tajikistan," we were taken aback by his

uncharacteristically sarcastic opening salvo:  "So here we sit

today without the main guilty person (UK Ambassador Loten) in

the dock."

THE TAJIK VERSION

4.  (C) Without going into the mostly untranslated and painful

minutiae of the 75 minutes of rapid-fire accusations,

counter-accusations, and circular logic, the Tajik position

follows.  As early as April 2005, the Committee for Radio and

Television Broadcasting (CRTB) had notified the Ministry of

Communications, with whom BBC had its previous agreements, that

BBC would need to re-register when the new legislation on

broadcasting pending in the parliament would become law.

MinComm and CRTB conducted a voluminous exchange of letters and

memos between themselves, flashed at us from bulging folders,

and the MinComm eventually informed BBC, at least orally.  The

MinComm had the lead because BBC had signed its 1999 and 2003

broadcast agreements with that ministry in accordance with the

relevant law at that time.

5.  (C) A BBC delegation from London came to Dushanbe in June

2005, but left without a clear idea of what would be required to

re-register, because the new law had not yet been passed and the

implementing regulations not promulgated.  BBC continued, then,

to rely on its local Tajik representative, whom FM Nazarov

repeatedly and disdainfully dismissed as an "unreliable

low-life."

6.  (C) In fact, the pending broadcast licensing bill was not

signed into law until September 1, 2005, and the implementing

DUSHANBE 00000304  002 OF 003

regulations were not published until mid-November.  The new

registration form listing the required supporting documents was

not available until mid- to late December.  "It's all on the

Internet," FM Nazarov commented caustically.  "Don't you people

use the Internet?"

7.  (C) Apparently BBC London, unused to Tajikistan's sometimes

ridiculously short deadlines for legal affairs, decided to move

with "all deliberate speed," meaning they did nothing, and thus

were booted from the FM-106 frequency January 10.

8.  (C) FM Nazarov excoriated the local BBC "lowlife"

representative for calling a press conference on January 11 to

protest Tajikistan's "political oppression," and laid into

Shugurov for OSCE's "typical knee-jerk reaction to make us look

like thugs."  The academic-at-heart Nazarov ridiculed the Tajik

BBC representative as akin to "a bad student from a rich family

who ignores all honest advice with impunity."

9.  (C) Nazarov archly concluded, "Fill out the form, Dear Lady

Diplomat, attach your supporting documents, and you'll be back

on the air the next day.  But I don't care if you take a day, a

week, or ten years - you must meet our law.  We will not

tolerate an arrogant foreign conglomerate [sic] abusing a small

country."

A MODEST PROPOSAL - REJECTED

10.  (C) The U.S. Ambassador suggested that since the matter

appeared to be purely legal-technical and not political, the

Government of Tajikistan might want to consider an exception for

an interim license to get BBC back on the air locally until it

can submit its documents.  This would mitigate the currently

negative perceptions in Western capitals.  French Ambassador

Andrieu and OSCE Deputy Head of Mission Shugurov

enthusiastically supported this suggestion.  Nazarov thundered,

"No!  Never!  We are a nation of law, and you must follow our

law, just as we follow the law in your countries."

11.  (SBU) DCM Beloff undertook to report the requirements to

BBC London and get the paperwork done as quickly as possible.

ANOTHER VIEW

12.  (C) Embassy Dushanbe's PAS FSN Media Assistant attended the

meeting.  Afterward, he opined the issue is indeed political,

not technical-legal.  The local Tajik BBC staff are known to

identify strongly with the Tajik political opposition.  Even if

BBC submits all the required documents to the CRTB with all the

required notarial stamps, BBC will still face the formidable

task of then registering with the Ministry of Justice.  He

suggested President Rahmonov's circle simply will not tolerate

an independent source of news and information readily available

to Dushanbe during the presidential election year.  This is not

unprecedented.  The U.S.-funded NGO,Internews, has also had

problems getting its community radio stations registered and

licensed.  There are also rumors that if BBC adds a Kulobi

staffer or two to its Dushanbe office, friends of the President,

all will proceed smoothly.

13.  (C) COMMENT:  Although Embassy Dushanbe not infrequently

has "frank discussions" with Tajik Government officials, we have

never before seen FM Nazarov in such high dudgeon.  Because of

the surprisingly raw emotions in this meeting, we tend to

suspect neither side disclosed the full story.  It's also

DUSHANBE 00000304  003 OF 003

possible that Nazarov felt he'd unfairly been called on the

carpet by President Rahmonov over this issue.  We want to judge

that the BBC issue is mostly legal-technical, but we cannot

wholly discount our FSN's political analysis.  While Minister of

Communications Zubaidov is an apolitical technocrat and looked

decidedly uncomfortable in the meeting, CRTB Chairman Rahmonov

is a recent Kulobi-clan political appointee and appeared

self-satisfied.  Once BBC submits the required documents for

re-licensing, we will see which way the political wind blows.

Whatever eventually happens - and we will work quietly to help

this end well - BBC is not at all in good political favor these

days in a few halls of the Tajik Government.  END COMMENT.

HOAGLAND

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

id: 53034

date: 2/15/2006 7:10

refid: 06DUSHANBE305

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

classification: UNCLASSIFIED

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----------------- header ends ----------------

UNCLAS DUSHANBE 000305

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR P, SCA, EUR

NSC FOR MILLARD, MERKEL

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: AMGT, PREL, TI

SUBJECT: TAJIK GOVERNMENT'S RESPONSE TO CREATION OF SCA BUREAU

REF: STATE 022071

1.  The Ambassador prese

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