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id: 94173

date: 1/26/2007 13:48

refid: 07DUSHANBE135

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

destination: 07DUSHANBE100

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DUSHANBE 000135

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: ABLD, ECPS, OIIP, PGOV, PREL, KPAO, TI

SUBJECT: INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTING BUREAU LAYS GROUNDWORK FOR

AGREEMENT WITH TAJIK GOVERNMENT

REF: DUSHANBE 100

DUSHANBE 00000135  001.2 OF 002

1.  (U) SUMMARY.  The International Broadcasting Bureau's Jim

Lambert briefed Minister of Transportation and Communications

Abdurahim Ashurov January 23 on the history of its broadcasts

and transmissions from Tajikistan and proposed that the United

States and Tajikistan negotiate and sign a bilateral

governmental agreement.  To date, the International Broadcasting

Bureau has conducted its programs on a commercial basis; the

current five-year commercial agreement is set to expire in

December 2007.  Lambert promised to send a draft agreement and

invited Ashurov to send a team to Munich to see the facilities

and meet with other International Broadcasting Bureau staff.

Ashurov promised to consider the agreement, stating that

cooperation with the United States on all fronts was a priority;

but noting also that the International Broadcasting Bureau's

work in Tajikistan can no longer be considered as simply

technical or commercial, but rather an issue of broader foreign

policy.  END SUMMARY

2.  (SBU) The Ambassador set the stage by explaining the

on-going commercial agreement between the International

Broadcasting Bureau and Tajik Radio Telecom which allows the

International Broadcasting Bureau to broadcast into Pakistan.

The International Broadcasting Bureau wants to broaden the scope

of its broadcasts to include China, but a commercial agreement

does not adequately ensure Tajik government support for

transmissions from its territory, so a bilateral governmental

agreement is needed.  Lambert then fully explained the ongoing

broadcasting program, including the recent installation of an

800-kilowatt amplitude modulated transmitter and antenna.  The

International Broadcasting Bureau plans to install generators to

ensure a consistent power supply, and shortwave antenna and

transmitter that can reach most of China, in addition to the

current Urdu broadcasts into Pakistan.  Lambert emphasized the

close cooperation with Tajik Radio Telecom, as well as the

technology and training already transferred to Tajikistan.

3.  (U) Because the original equipment leased by Radio Free Asia

in 1995 and again by the successor agency International

Broadcasting Bureau in 2002 cannot carry the required

transmission loads, the International Broadcasting Bureau began

installing new technology for Tajik Radio Telecom, and plans

further upgrades.  This will benefit Tajikistan in the long run,

because its technicians are getting the training now, and the

equipment will revert to them in ten years.  The International

Broadcasting Bureau has also provided building renovations at

the broadcasting site.  The current program also benefits Tajik

Radio Telecom because it is able to sub-lease 12 hours each day

on the current transmitters to other broadcasters.  (Note: We

have just learned that Tajik Radio Telecom's main sub-lessee is

Radio Russia.  It is ironic that U.S. provided equipment is used

to broadcast programs that often portray America in a negative

light.  End note.)

4.  (U) The current commercial program expires in December 2007,

and there is no current government to government agreement.  For

this reason, Lambert recommended that the International

Broadcasting Bureau send a draft proposal and an invitation for

the Tajiks to meet with the International Broadcasting Bureau in

Munich in February.

5.  (U) Minister Ashurov thanked Jim Lambert for the

information, and stated that he agreed in principle with the

idea of the meeting to discuss a new agreement.  He said ongoing

as well as new broadcasts would have to be discussed at the

policy level within his government to determine if the

transmission agreement complied with Tajik law.  This is not

simply a commercial or technical issue, he said, but one of

broader foreign policy.  Tajikistan wants to have positive,

law-based relationships with all of its neighbors.  Ashurov

emphasized his interest in cooperation with the United States

across all areas within the purview of his ministry.

6.  (SBU) COMMENT: The meeting represented a first effort to

fully brief the Tajik government on the International

Broadcasting Bureau's activities, but it will take numerous

briefings and meetings to fully explain the scope of the

broadcasts and get the Tajiks to agree to an intergovernmental

agreement, in addition to extending the commercial agreement

with Tajik Radio Telecom which expire in December.  Given the

growing ties between Tajikistan and China, the Tajik government

may not agree to allow us to use its territory for broadcasting

to China.  We will need to use all our diplomatic efforts in

DUSHANBE 00000135  002.2 OF 002

Tajikistan and Washington to explain that the transmissions do

not pose a threat to regional stability or relations.  END

COMMENT

7.  (U) By briefing the government of Tajikistan and initiating

discussions about an inter-governmental agreement, the

International Broadcasting Bureau has complied with Embassy

Dushanbe's request (Reftel), and the Embassy will once again

entertain country clearance requests for its technical advisors

for maintenance and repair of existing capacity as well as site

surveys for planned expansion.  However, the Bureau should not

plan on installing new capacity or start new broadcasts without

first obtaining agreement from the host government.

JACOBSON

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

id: 94703

date: 1/31/2007 14:12

refid: 07DUSHANBE161

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

classification: UNCLASSIFIED

destination: 07STATE202341

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

UNCLAS DUSHANBE 000161

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN; S/WE FOR SASHA MEHRA AND GERDA LANE

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PHUM, KWMN, TI

SUBJECT: INFLUENTIAL WOMEN IN TAJIKISTAN

REF: STATE   00202341

1.  In response to reftel, Post submits the following five names

of the most influential women in Tajikistan.

-- Khairinisso MAVLONOVA

Title:  Depuity Prime Minister

Organization: Government of the Republic of Tajikistan

In a country with one female minister and where most women are

relegated to deputy minister positions, Mavlonova sits in the

highest government position attained by a woman.  She holds two

graduate degrees and studied at the Russian Academy of Civil

Service.  A close advisor to the president, she is often praised

for her ability to speak and connect with the public.

-- Zebunisso RUSTAMOVA

Title:  Director

Organization: Center of Support for Women and Children

An Olympic medalist in archery, Rustamova is well-known and

respected throughout Tajikistan. She heads one of the most

active and well-regarded NGOs in the Sughd Region of northern

Tajikistan, advocating for women and children's rights and has a

strong network with civil society and business leaders.

-- Matluba ULJABAEVA

Title:  Deputy Director

Organization: Indigo Telecommunications Company

Uljabaeva is deputy director of one of the leading

telecommunications companies in Tajikistan and is also the

Executive Director of the Board of Heads of Small and Medium

Entrepreneurs Association (SMEA).  She was instrumental in

organizing several conferences for the business community and

provided significant input into Tajikistan's Law on Small and

Medium enterprises.

-- Gulchehra SHARIPOVA

Title:  First Deputy Minister

Organization: Ministry of Justice

Sharipova headed President's Administration's  Department on

Constitutional Guarantees of the Rights of the Citizens,

responsible for human rights issues.  Well-known among the

international community, she also enjoys a good reputation among

Tajiks as a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer.

-- Viloyat MIRZOEVA

Title:  Director

Organization:  Gender and Development

After working for the UNICEF and UNIFEM offices in Dushanbe,

Mirzoeva set out to start her own local NGO, "Gender and

Development."  Mirzoeva was highly praised by President Rahmonov

and received a state award for her NGO's work.

2.  Due to an undeveloped telephone infrastructure and

constantly changing exchanges and prefixes, Post would be happy

to facilitate contact for Department offices with any of these

women.  Post's officer responsible for following women's issue

is Uyen Tang, Political/Economic Officer.  Ms. Tang can be

contacted at HYPERLINK "mailto:tangut2@state.gov"

tangut2@state.gov or +992-37-229-2505.

JACOBSON

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

id: 94726

date: 1/31/2007 15:28

refid: 07DUSHANBE162

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

classification: UNCLASSIFIED

destination: 06DUSHANBE827|07DUSHANBE139

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

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 DUSHANBE 000162

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: ECON, EAID, EAGR, ELAB, ENRG, PGOV, PHUM, TI

SUBJECT: BEWARE OF GARM! WINTER IN CENTRAL TAJIKISTAN

REF: A) DUSHANBE 0139  B) 06 DUSHANBE 827

DUSHANBE 00000162  001.2 OF 003

1.  (U) Introduction: Jan 22-24 EmbOffs visited the Rasht Valley

in central Tajikistan to get a taste of rural life in the

winter.  A series of cables surveys border conditions (Ref A),

the economic and social situation, health needs and assistance

programs in central Tajikistan.  End Introduction.

The Icy Road East

-----------------------------------

2.  (U) Local Tajiks told EmbOffs to wait until summer to travel

to Rasht Valley, citing warnings about perilous road conditions

in the mountains.  The town of Garm, six hours northeast from

Dushanbe on a principal road leading through the country and to

Kyrgyzstan, is best visited in May.  Undaunted, on Jan 22

EmbOffs packed into their vehicles loaded with ready-to-eat

meals, sleeping bags and bottled water, and headed to Garm.

3.  (U) EmbOffs enjoyed blazing snow-covered scenery as Embassy

drivers slowly maneuvered through icy mountain roads at 25-30

kilometers per hour.  Occasionally, men from villages dressed in

furry hats and beards came up to shovel dirt on the mountain

paths to provide traction for passers-by.  Vehicles small and

large maneuvered between rockslides on the icy roads, carrying

people and goods, such as new Chinese minivans, into the

country.  With snow piled high all around, traffic and life move

on in central Tajikistan.

4.  (U) Rasht Valley comprises seven districts with an overall

population of over 350,000.  (Note: EmbOffs did not actually

notice a "valley."  Valley implies a large flat area, while the

Rasht Valley consists of a road between the mountains.  End

Note.)  The small rehabilitated airport in Garm operates only in

summer, while camels are still used as transport in Jirgitol

District further up the valley.  Garm sits in the center of

Rasht district, a capital of 14,000 people.  The dead economy

has forced much of the population to seek work abroad, while the

remaining population relies on foreign assistance, remittances,

and small-scale agricultural production.

No Electricity and No Connection

--------------------------------------------- --

5.  (U) Rasht Valley receives two to four hours of electricity

per day from mid-October through mid-April.  People in the

valley use coal from Nazarailok, 120 km from Rasht, for heat.

Each family uses up to four tons of coal each winter, at $150

per ton.  The Chairman of Rasht District Mahmadsharif Tolibov

believes that energy supplies will improve after the launch of

the Sangtuda-1 hydropower station.  In addition, Russian

construction of a hydropower station at Rogun, or Chinese

construction of a Shurab hydropower station at the merging point

of the Hingob and Surhob rivers would also provide energy

resources and new jobs for the region.

6.  (U) Rasht District lacks a single radio station, and boasts

one bi-weekly newspaper, Navidi Rasht.  Newspapers from Dushanbe

often arrive weeks late.  Approximately 50 families (of 14,000

people) in Garm have satellite dishes, although without

electricity, even the satellite owners cannot watch television.

There is little public Internet access in the district -- a

U.S.-funded site is an exception -- and few books available in

Russian or English languages.

7.  (U) At School Number 1 in Garm, shivering pupils bundled in

coats dutifully wrote in their notebooks.  Low salaries

averaging 20 USD per month have led to a nationwide shortage of

teachers, and class sizes ranged from 35-45 students.  The Asian

Development Bank and the Japanese Development Agency both

provided assistance to the school, with basic improvements in

the building evident.  The active parents' association paid for

electrical upgrades and for heating coal.  The school's

director, Sharipov Davlat, asked EmbOffs for assistance in

purchasing new classroom furniture and textbooks.  A local NGO

leader warned EmbOffs that local youth face a crisis without

development opportunities.

DUSHANBE 00000162  002.2 OF 003

How do you like them (Garm) apples?

--------------------------------------------- ---------

8.  (U) Tajiks love the flavorful Garm apples, and Rasht

District produces up to ten thousand tons of apples each year.

However, with no food processing manufacturers and poor storage

facilities, farmers lose up to 50% of their harvest, often

giving it to cattle.  In this non-cotton-growing agricultural

region, farmers grow potatoes and other vegetables, raise

cattle, and keep bees.  The region lacks agricultural equipment,

however, and Rasht District Chairman Tolibov suggested to

EmbOffs that donors provide tractors to farmers instead of

training.

9.  (U) Rasht Valley lacks capital to spur economic growth, and

the persistent electricity shortages make the region

unattractive to outside investors.  Despite sitting on a major

trade route, only small business trading occurs in the valley.

Several entrepreneurs told EmbOffs they want to produce

high-quality cashmere wool, but they lack investment capital.

Irrigation systems lie in disrepair with no funds or electricity

to rehabilitate them.  Labor remittances account for more than

50% of local income, and in the Tajikobod district for example,

4,000 of the 33,000 population work in Russia, bringing in $10

million per year, according to the Mountain Societies

Development Support Program, an Aga Khan Development Network

agency active in the region.

Local Governance Programs in Rasht Valley

---------------------------------------

10.  (U) Two major donors in the Rasht Valley are the United

Nations Development Program and the Mountain Societies

Development Support Program.  Each has spent roughly $10 million

in Rasht Valley since 1996.  These two donors have created a web

of local governance support programs in Rasht Valley that bring

civil society and local government together.  The Mountain

Societies Development Support Program created 474 organizations

at the village level, involving 58,000 people, to coordinate

community issues.  (Comment: The head of the Mountain Societies

Development Support Program, Muhammadi Sharipov, is considered

the second most important person in Rasht Valley, after the

regional governor.  End Comment).  The United Nations

Development Program works one level higher with its new 36

Jamoat (District) Support Centers, providing each with $30,000

per year for micro-lending, civil support and infrastructure

projects.  In addition, Jamoat officials receive training and

technical assistance.  These two programs will provide an

excellent basis for the new USAID Local Governance program.

Economic Development Programs

---------------------------------------

11.  (U) Donor projects offer the most basic economic training

and infrastructure development.  A German Development Service

(German version of the Peace Corps) advisor runs a business

incubator in Garm and provides business development services to

entrepreneurs who struggle with basic market concepts.  For

example, the handicrafts dealer offered his goods as gifts to

visiting EmbOffs several times while the advisor repeatedly

admonished him and insisted he accept payment for his products.

12.  (U) Donor activities complement each other, as the

FirstMicroFinance Bank (also a part of the Aga Khan Development

Network) provides credits to farmers, and Mountain Societies

Development Support Program activities include irrigation

projects and cattle breeding.  The new USAID AgLinks project

will stimulate linkages between market-driven producers and

processors and retailers of agricultural products, and also

build local capacity, providing needed assistance to this

struggling region.

13.  (U) Comment: Geography and poverty conspire against this

region, which was a hotbed of the opposition during the civil

war.  The Governor seemed uninterested in hearing about new

USG-funded economic development, agricultural and governance

programs, perhaps feeling like he's heard it all before.  He

DUSHANBE 00000162  003.2 OF 003

adamantly maintained, however, that the President would solve

the region's energy problems in the next year or two.  EmbOffs

did not ask the question what would happen if the energy

shortages continue.  End Comment.

JACOBSON

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

id: 94856

date: 2/1/2007 12:12

refid: 07DUSHANBE167

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

classification: CONFIDENTIAL

destination:

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

C O N F I D E N T I A L DUSHANBE 000167

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL:  2/1/2017

TAGS: PREL, PGOV, KDEM, PHUM, EAID, TI

SUBJECT: NGO STANDOFF WITH THE TAJIK MFA OVER REQUEST FOR PERSONNEL

INFORMATION

CLASSIFIED BY: Tracey Ann Jacobson, Ambassador, U.S. Embassy,

Dushanbe, State.

REASON: 1.4 (d)

1.  (SBU)  Tajikistan's international nongovernmental

organization community is wrestling with how to respond to a

recent Ministry of Foreign Affairs request to provide

information about their local employees and tax status.   The

Ministry sent a letter in early January -- received by only

three of the Dushanbe NGO Forum's 44 members -- requesting that

diplomatic missions, international organizations and

international nongovernmental organization submit a series of

documents, including the charter, contracts with local

employees, tax numbers of local employees.  (Note: The Ministry

quickly clarified that diplomatic missions were actually exempt

and had no action. End note.)  Much of the requested information

is already on record with other government agencies, including

the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Labor, Tax Committee and

Fund for Social Protection.

2.  (SBU)  The Ministry of Foreign Affairs appears ill-prepared

to implement the initiative.  In a January 29 meeting with

PolOff and Mercy Corps and Internews country directors, Sherali

Jononov, head of the Legal Department, shifted uncomfortably in

his chair when asked about the legal justification for the

request.  He acknowledged that organizations also had to

register with the Justice Ministry, but said it was not possible

for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to obtain the documents from

other government agencies.  "This information will help the

Ministry to issue visas and register cars for international

organizations."  Given that staff changed on a regular basis,

how often would organizations need to submit such information?

Jononov did not know, but suggested a one-time submittal would

suffice.  What was the penalty for non-compliance? No answer.

3.  (SBU)  He added the initiative was in part to "protect the

local workers of Tajikistan" from bad personnel practices, but

could not refute the counterargument that worker protection was

the responsibility of the Labor Ministry, not Foreign Affairs.

In response to concerns that submitting copies of labor

contracts violated privacy rights, Jononov suggested

organizations did not really need to submit the contracts -- a

list of employees, and the dates of the contract would suffice.

 He directed the NGO Forum to meet with a more junior Ministry

employee to clarify the specifics documents requested.

4.  (SBU) According to Tajik lawyers at the International Center

for Non-Profit Law, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has no legal

basis to collect the information.  Legal specialists explained

to PolOff and more NGO directors January 31 that the Ministry of

Foreign Affairs has the right to accredit diplomats and foreign

media only.   All other organizations must register with the

Ministry of Justice.  The Ministry's "accreditation cards" given

to foreign employees of international organizations were not

required under Tajik law.

5.  (C) COMMENT:  Not only is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on

very thin legal ice with their request for information, the

actual requirements are unclear and seem open to negotiation.

The fact that the letter erroneously included diplomatic

missions and that Jononov dismissed the written request for

contracts suggests the request letter was hastily conceived and

badly conceived and executed attempt to try to get more

oversight of non-governmental organizations' activities.

Foreign Affairs and Justice have a long-standing rivalry over

the control of international non-governmental organizations, and

this request could be the latest intra-governmental power play.

6.  (C)  The NGO community is split on how to respond.  One camp

feels inclined to submit only the information required by Tajik

law, and force the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to produce legal

justification.  The other takes a more conciliatory approach to

the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, recognizing that a little

compliance could result in better support and communication with

the Ministry, if not the Tajik government.  The Ministry has the

power to issue or deny visas, and could effectively hamstring

the work of many international non-governmental organizations by

denying visas to foreign employees or consultants. END COMMENT.

JACOBSON

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

id: 95053

date: 2/2/2007 10:40

refid: 07DUSHANBE171

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

destination: 07DUSHANBE34|07DUSHANBE44

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

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DUSHANBE 000171

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/CEN

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL, PGOV, EAID, KPAO, TI

SUBJECT: TAJIK FOREIGN MINISTER ZARIPOV'S BILATERAL WISH LIST FOR

2007

REF: (A) DUSHANBE 44, (B) DUSHANBE 34

DUSHANBE 00000171  001.2 OF 002

1.  (SBU)  Summary:  Foreign Minister Zaripov invited Ambassador

February 1 to meet newly-appointed Ambassador to the United

States Abdujabbor Shirinov, and to discuss his ideas for

additional cooperation in 2007, including the opening of the

U.S.-funded bridge at Nizhnii Pyanzh and the Millennium

Challenge Corporation.  Ambassador raised the upcoming

International Visitors program for senior bankers and expressed

hope for positive results from a related meeting between Gerald

Metals, Orienbank owner and "First Brother-in-Law" Sadulloyev,

and the Deputy Director of the TadAZ aluminum smelter in

February in Washington.  She also asked for the Minister's help

in registering the National Democratic Institute and Freedom

House, both of which would contribute to Tajikistan's Millennium

Challenge aspirations.  Zaripov provided some information on

President Rahmonov's international travels, and asked for U.S.

assistance in closing down a U.S. based website he claimed was

run as an "active measure" by Russian security services aimed at

disrupting U.S. relations with the countries of Central Asia.

End Summary.

 New Ambassador

------------------------

2.  (SBU)  "Increase U.S. investment in Tajikistan and

opportunities for Tajik students to study in the United States."

 Shirinov plans to arrive in Washington mid-February and hopes

to participate in the White House credentials ceremony February

27.  (Note:  We conveyed to the Ministry today that Shirinov

needs to be in Washington no later than February 13 to be

included in the ceremony.)

Zaripov's Wish List

-------------------------

3.  (SBU) Zaripov again raised Tajikistan's interest in making

the list of Millennium Challenge countries, and said this would

be a top priority for Shirinov.  Ambassador said success was not

an issue of lobbying, but rather taking concrete steps to

improve Tajikistan's indicators.  Registration of the National

Democratic Institute and Freedom House would be positive

developments in the "governing justly" section of the

indicators, especially as Freedom House has some responsibility

for the rankings.  Zaripov said he was working with both the

Ministry of Justice and State Committee on Security to move

forward on the National Democratic Institute, but asked

Ambassador to raise the issue at her meetings with the Minister

of Justice and Director of Security.  Ambassador noted that the

new Minister of Justice had thus far declined to meet.  (Note:

This is as clear a statement as we have heard that the State

Committee on National Security, long thought to be the main

obstacle to the National Democratic Institute's work, is in fact

the real problem).

4.  (SBU)  Zaripov again raised his interest in a splashy

ceremony for the bridge opening in August, including senior U.S.

representation.   He is also hoping to generate increased U.S.

investment, noting the recent visit to Tajikistan of U.S.-listed

energy company Canargo, which has received a concession to

explore the possibility of extracting natural gas in

Kurgan-Tube, and to generate more educational exchanges.  "Maybe

in the future, we will have budgetary funds to send more

students to the United States, as they do in Kazakhstan.  But

for now we still need your help."

Travelling Man

-------------------

 5.  (SBU)  Zaripov characterized Rahmonov's recent trip to

China as extremely positive, not only for the various commercial

and educational agreements signed, but for the overall

"umbrella" agreement on friendship and cooperation that will

stimulate rapid development in the relationship.  (Note:

Zaripov didn't share any figures on the new concessional loan

agreements reached with China, but International Monetary Fund

representatives told us this week that they are on the order of

hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars, potentially raising

Tajikistan's Debt to Gross Domestic Product ratio to as high as

60 percent.  End Note.)  Rahmonov will travel to Egypt February

4 and Syria three days later for meetings with his counterparts.

 According to Zaripov, Rahmonov wants not only to build

bilateral relations with countries in the Arab world, but also

to share his experience in "peacefully resolving civil conflicts

and working cooperatively with difficult neighbors."

DUSHANBE 00000171  002.2 OF 002

Shut Down that Pesky Website

-----------------------------------------

6.  (SBU)  Zaripov raised the Arianastorm.com website, which he

claims is based in Newcastle, Delaware.  According to Zaripov,

Ibrahim Ismoyilov, who was the deputy state security committee

chief for Tajikistan during Soviet times, runs the site with

four students he had recruited from Isfara, "a hotbed of Islamic

extremists."  Ismoyilov receives his instructions from

opposition journalist Atabuloyev in Moscow, a known Russian

Federal Security Service agent of influence, whom Moscow uses to

destabilize relations between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and

also to curb the growth of U.S. influence in Central Asia in

general.  Zaripov was particularly incensed about stories that

he personally is an "agent of the Central Intelligence Agency."

Ambassador noted that the U.S. government does not control

information published on the internet, to which Zaripov

responded that "the U.S. Justice Department has the right to

close down any website under the Patriot Act."  Ambassador said

this is only true for websites promoting violence and terrorism.

 (Note:  We feel Zaripov's pain; our embassy has also been the

subject of some nasty attacks from this website.)

7.  (SBU) Comment:  We appreciate Department's assistance in

getting Shirinov included in the upcoming White House

credentials ceremony.  We expect that Zaripov will still play

the lead role for the Tajik side in driving the bilateral

relationship.  Our challenge is to turn his enthusiasm and ideas

into concrete steps forward.  End Comment.

JACOBSON

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

id: 95290

date: 2/5/2007 14:13

refid: 07DUSHANBE180

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UNCLAS DUSHANBE 000180

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

PREL, PGOV, PINR, SNAR, TI

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: FOR, SCA/CEN

SUBJECT: TAJIKISTAN'S RASHT VALLEY CALM-- FOR THE TIME BEING?

REF: A. A. Dushanbe 0139

     B. B. Dushanbe 0162

1.  (SBU) Summary:  Despite serving as the headquarters of the

Islamist opposition during the Tajik Civil War, PolOffs

encountered a quiet Rasht Valley during their January 22-24

visit.  Local government leaders argued Islamic extremism did

not exist in Rasht, due to the "increased religiosity" of its

people and its distance from the Uzbek border.  However, the

potential for extremism exists if the region does not achieve

economic development and receive international assistance,

particularly for health care.  End Summary.

EXTREME FAITH WITHOUT EXTREMISM

2.  (SBU) Muhammadsharif Tolibov, Chairman of the Rasht

District, told PolOff the Rasht Valley did not have any problems

with Islamic extremism.  By contrast, he posited, the Sughd

Region was fighting extremism due to its close proximity to the

Uzbek border, which facilitates the movement of people and funds

to and from Uzbekistan.  Further, the Rasht people are observant

Muslims who would not take to such excessive expression of their

religion.

3.  (SBU) Hoji Qurbon Barotov, imam of the Garm Friday praying

mosque, the largest in Rasht Valley, claimed he enjoyed good

relations with the government and occasionally traveled with

local government representatives to surrounding villages to

explain government policies and discuss the dangers of

extremism.  Many local religious leaders receive their religious

education outside of Tajikistan, particularly in Saudi Arabia

and Pakistan.  He admitted that exposure to different sects of

Islam sometimes created friction with local leaders after their

return home.  (Note: Baratov serves as the regional coordinator

for the imams of all mosques in Jirgatol, Tajikobod, Nurobod,

Tavildara and Rasht districts.  Approximately 20-25 people

worship daily at his mosque, and close to 1,000 every Friday.

In an unusual display of entrepreneurship, he built a small

power station at his mosque, which includes a generator, and

sells energy to his neighbors to generate proceeds for his

mosque. End Note.)

4.  (SBU)  Junaydullo Niyozov, the Prosecutor of Rasht District,

confirmed that extremism posed no threat to Rasht's stability.

He stated that his region was very calm overall, and that 96

percent of local crimes had been solved in 2006.  The only two

"serious" crimes had been a woman who killed her illegitimate

child, and a man who killed his sister for having a child out of

wedlock.

CALM BUT DESPERATE

5.  (SBU) Tolibov requested U.S. health care assistance.  A

sufficient number of specialists worked in the region, but they

lacked modern equipment to care for patients.  Garm's hospital

was responsible for treating people from 152 different villages,

but lacked a way to transport people to and from the hospital.

He specifically queried potential U.S. assistance in providing a

new ambulance which could serve patients located in rural areas.

 Tolibov then claimed Rasht does not have a high-level of drug

use or HIV cases, since people were more religious than other

parts of the country, and abstained from illegal activities as a

result.

6.  (SBU) Comment:  The request for health care assistance

echoes comments heard during trips to Khujand and Isfara.  Post

plans to provide the contact information for two health-care

assistance implementing partners, NGO's Project Hope and

Counterpart.  While the U.S. government will likely be unable to

meet their medical needs, sending even a small amount of

supplies would be a positive first step.

7.  (SBU) The Embassy's humanitarian assistance partners

occasionally deliver medicines and medical supplies to the

region.  Post will endeavor to better publicize such deliveries.

 This kind of assistance, with an American face on it, will make

it more difficult for an unemployed, poor youth to believe

anti-U.S. extremist propaganda that the U.S. government is

waging a war against Islam.  While none of the above individuals

would admit that a problem with extremism existed, all

recognized the potential for radicalism, should the government

prove unable to improve the economic situation for their

citizens.  End Comment.

JACOBSON

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

id: 95437

date: 2/6/2007 11:56

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

UNCLAS DUSHANBE 000199

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

USAID FOR EGAT/I&E/E

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV, PREL, ECON, EAID, ENRG, TI

SUBJECT: FLOOD SHUTS DOWN TAJIKISTAN'S PAMIR I POWER STATION

REF: A) 06 DUSHANBE 1594  B) 05 DUSHANBE 1553

1.  (SBU) Pamir Energy, the Aga Khan-supported energy company

that serves Tajikistan's remote Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous

Region, suffered a major disruption February 5 when the

powerhouse at Pamir I hydro power station flooded, causing local

employees to shut down the 28 MW station (and run for their

lives).  Munir Merali, Resident Representative for the Aga Khan

Development Network in Tajikistan, told PolOff a team of experts

was already en route to the regional capital Khorog February 6

to conduct an initial assessment, but the power station was

expected to remain offline for a few months, leaving Pamir

Energy with only 9 MW of electricity from its Khorog hydropower

station to distribute to customers.

2.  (SBU) Merali reported that the turbines appeared to be

undamaged, but they would need to replace most of the wiring

before the station could go online. Although the cause of the

flooding remains unclear, Pamir I engineers on site proposed

several hypotheses, ranging from a problem in one of the two

penstocks that direct water from the holding reservoirs to the

power station, to a broken protective structure above the power

house. Pamir Energy's Swiss insurance company is also sending

specialists to assess the damage.

3.  (SBU) Merali met with Deputy Prime Minister Asadullo

Ghulomov (whose portfolio includes both energy policy and

emergency response) February 6 to ensure timely government

assistance.  Pamir Energy officials in Khorog are working with

the Gorno-Badakhshan governor Qodir Qosimov to establish a

rationing schedule for electricity in the region.  (Note:  Just

one week earlier, the Tajik media quoted Qosimov calling the top

leadership of Pamir Energy "incompetent" at a press conference

and criticizing the high salaries of the expatriate directors.

End note.)  Merali expressed confidence that Pamir Energy would

be able to find the best interim solution in the remaining weeks

of winter.

4.  (SBU) Pamir Energy is Tajikistan's first public-private

energy joint venture, financed by a consortium of Aga Khan Fund

for Economic Development (AKFED), the World Bank's International

Finance Corporation, World Bank, and the Swiss government (ref

A).  Pamir Energy generates electricity in a remote region

containing only five percent of Tajikistan's population and cut

off from Tajikistan's main electrical grid.  Pamir Energy

significantly increased the electricity supply in

Gorno-Badakhshan by doubling the power at Pamir I in October

2005 and rehabilitating the Khorog station, but has encountered

numerous problems collecting fees from customers and has

received little support from the local government for its cost

recovery efforts.

5.  (SBU) Comment: Thanks to Pamir Energy, until February 5,

Gorno-Badakhshan was the only region in Tajikistan outside

Dushanbe with 24/7 electricity in the winter.  Before the

revamped Pamir I came online two years ago, the lights in Khorog

worked only a few hours in the morning or the evening (ref B).

The government may declare a state of emergency to deal with the

immediate effects of the power shortage, but the conditions in

Gorno-Badakhshan now mirror those in large areas of Tajikistan,

where many people have not had any electricity for months.  As a

private company trying to function in a tough environment, Pamir

Energy likely has some difficult days ahead.  End Comment.

JACOBSON

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

id: 95583

date: 2/7/2007 9:36

refid: 07DUSHANBE206

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

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

UNCLAS DUSHANBE 000206

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR SCA/CEN

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL, EAID, TI, OSCE

SUBJECT: TAJIK PITCHES INITIATIVES FOR THE OSCE

1.  (U) Tajik Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director for

International Organizations, Nuriddin Shamsov, called in the

deputy chief of mission February 5 to discuss Tajik issues at

the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.  The

resident Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe

mission confirmed that Shamsov has been sounding out

representatives from all member countries with embassies in

Dushanbe to discuss the same two initiatives: reclassifying the

resident mission as a Project Office, and moving the Economic

Forum from Prague to Dushanbe.  Tajik representatives have also

pitched these proposals to missions in Vienna.

From Center to Project Office

------------------------------------

2. (SBU) Shamsov explained the proposal to reclassify the

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's field

presence in Tajikistan as a "Project Office."  According to

Shamsov, the change is justified in recognition that Tajikistan

has "achieved a certain level of stability and development"

since the end of the civil war.  As evidence he pointed to the

"successful presidential election" last November.  The deputy

chief of mission reminded Shamsov that the Organization for

Security and Cooperation's own observer mission determined that

the election did not meet international standards and was not a

true test of democratic principles.  Nevertheless, Shamsov said

Tajikistan believes the Organization for Security and

Cooperation in Europe should focus in Tajikistan on the economic

basket, rather than politico-military or human dimension.

Tajikistan currently hosts the largest Organization for Security

and Cooperation in Europe center in Central Asia, but its

projects are ineffective, Shamsov argued.  Reorganizing the

in-country center as a project office would improve the delivery

of assistance.  The deputy chief of mission asked about project

assistance outside the economic basket, such as small arms/light

weapons, demining, and a new border project initiated at the

Tajik government's request.  Shamsov said of course those

projects should continue.  He refused to be pinned down on what

activities would cease under the proposed reorganization.

From Prague to Dushanbe

--------------------------------

3. (SBU) Tajikistan has also made an appeal in Vienna and now

among member states with embassies in country to move the

Economic Forum from Prague to Dushanbe.  Shamsov argued that the

"new post-Soviet reality" in the Organization for Security and

Cooperation in Europe argues for more focus on Asia.  Shamsov

asserted that no country better demonstrates the connection

between economic issues and security and stability than

Tajikistan.  The deputy chief of mission pointed out that

limited air connections to Dushanbe and a shortage of quality

hotel space make hosting any international event difficult and

expensive.  Shamsov admitted the Ministry had not calculated a

budget for hosting the Forum or given much thought yet to the

practicalities.  Asked whether the initiative had the support of

Tajikistan's neighbors or other former Soviet republics, Shamsov

said "no commitments yet."

Comment

-------------

4. (SBU) Tajikistan believes strongly in these two initiatives

as evidenced by its concerted push among member states here and

in Vienna.  So far the Foreign Minister has not raised these

issues in his bilateral meetings with the Ambassador, but the

issues would undoubtedly come up during a visit by U.S.

ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in

Europe, Julie Finley, in March.  The Foreign Ministry views

these moves as fully justified in recognition of Tajikistan's

significant progress since the end of its civil war and

emergence of Tajikistan, according to Shamsov, as "the most

stable country in Central Asia."  Shamsov was aware that

Tajikistan's proposal to downgrade the Organization for Security

and Cooperation in Europe's presence appeared similar to moves

by Uzbekistan, Russia and other countries in the neighborhood to

weaken the multilateral institution's mandate.  He seemed

genuine in his insistence that these initiatives are not part of

a coordinated effort to undermine the Organization for Security

and Cooperation in Europe.  Tajikistan appears to have given no

thought to the practical steps necessary to make these

initiatives a reality.  Shamsov could not respond to questions

about how the Organization for Security and Cooperation 's

activities would change in Tajikistan under a reorganization or

how much it would cost to host the Economic Forum in Dushanbe.

JACOBSON

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

id: 95969

date: 2/9/2007 12:36

refid: 07DUSHANBE224

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

classification: UNCLASSIFIED

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DUSHANBE 000224

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV, PREL, EAID, ECON, EAGR, TI

SUBJECT: PANJ DISTRICT IN THE RUNNING FOR TAJIKISTAN'S MOST

OVERLOOKED

DUSHANBE 00000224  001.2 OF 002

1.  Summary:  In a country with widespread poverty, Panj

district ranks at the bottom even by Tajik standards.  No

internet access exists anywhere in the district.  The district's

only newspaper comes out every ten days because of the time

needed to create type-set for four pages on an old printing

press.  Some district schools have mud floors and no electrical

wiring.  A secondary school English teacher did not understand

the question, "May I talk with your students?"  Most farmers

remain stuck in a cycle of debt to Tajikistan's cotton "futures"

companies.  Few international non-governmental organizations

operate in Panj, yet the active local NGO community has

conducted a number of civil society and human rights programs

and continues to seek new funding to make a difference in its

community.  A little funding goes a long way in such remote

areas, and the Embassy will work to identify more partners to

help develop Panj from sinking further into poverty.  End

Summary.

2.  Located three hours south of Dushanbe on the Tajik-Afghan

border, the 90,000-residents of Panj district rely on cotton and

other agriculture.  During a February 8 visit, EmbOffs

encountered many problems that plague all rural communities in

Tajikistan -- limited electricity, unemployment, labor

migration, under-funded schools (septel).  But Tajikistan's

complicated cotton sector places an extraordinary burden on the

Panj community, and the low salaries -- less than $10 per month

for laborers -- and constant debt for farmers mean that the

cotton fields provide only a subsistence living.  Panj residents

have no contact with the Afghans across the river.  There is no

bridge or ferry in the district, and the river is too fast and

deep to cross.  A local official seemed unsure of the effect of

the U.S.-funded bridge in the neighboring district Nizhniy

Pyanj, scheduled to open in August, but noted Nizhniy Pyanj was

a long drive and Panj itself had little trade or commerce with

Afghanistan

3.  Compared to other Tajik districts, fewer men seek work in

Russia, because the cottons fields offer some employment,

however minimal.  A local official estimated that one of every

three families had someone working abroad (as opposed to every

family in some other regions).  Panj's only vegetable processing

plant employs 12 workers, mainly women, from May to October.

Its owner noted he would like to run a second shift, but the

vegetable supply was not adequate to expand beyond the 100,000

jars he produced last year.

A CRY FOR HELP . . .  AND NEWS

4.  "We're the last region of Tajikistan!" lamented a local

journalist.  Without Internet, he had no access to "fresh news."

 Displaying the 1976 printing press and typeset machine, he

noted it took him and his two staff members ten days to produce

the four-page Tajik and Uzbek language "Hayoti Nav" paper of

poor print quality.  He gestured to a more modern version of the

paper from 2006.  "I could do that in a day on a computer at a

printing house in Qurgon-Teppa," which he did until the

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe did not

extend his grant because the paper is a local government paper

and not independent. (Note: Hayoti Nav is Panj's only local

paper. End Note.)

LOCAL NGOS MAKE A DIFFERENCE

5.  Only a handful of international organizations currently work

in Panj -- two French organizations, United Nations High

Commission for Refugees, the International Organization on

Migration, and a faith-based Dushanbe group -- but a vibrant

local non-governmental community has used small grants to

conduct projects on women's rights and domestic violence, labor

trafficking, handicrafts and small businesses, and micro-credit.

 The U.S. organization International Research and Exchanges

Board (IREX) helped support a civil society project in 2006 that

raised awareness of women's rights and helped start a women's

center.

6.  At a roundtable discussion with EmbOffs, four NGO heads

called their relationship with the local government "excellent"

and noted that all four of the previous district chairmen had

supported their projects.  They experienced no problems with tax

inspectors or other authorities that sometimes vex

Dushanbe-based organizations.   The main problem was a lack of

funds and they asked for help accessing small grants to fund a

resource center, kick-start three women's employment projects

and open a computer training center.

DUSHANBE 00000224  002.2 OF 002

7.  Comment: Panj is like many districts in Tajikistan, only

worse off.  Yet local officials and civil society leaders seemed

more motivated and effective than in districts that enjoy more

international attention.  Post will work with U.S. and

international NGOs to get the word out that Panj could be a

fruitful place for a small investment in time or resources.  End

comment.

JACOBSON

HOAGLAND

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

id: 95981

date: 2/9/2007 12:57

refid: 07DUSHANBE225

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RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECU

Источник: ИА "Авеста"
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