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About the Embassy

Afghanistan and United States of America share a common destiny in fighting terror and tyranny and a deep rooted history of friendship and partnership. The first contact between Afghanistan and the United States of America ocured in the 1830's when a Pennsylvania adventurer, Josiah Harlan, traveled throughout the region, meeting Afghan both Shuja Shah and Dost Mahommed Khan. Shortly after Afghanistan regained her independence from Britain in 1919, King Amanullah, the reformist monarch of Afghanistan, dispatched General Wali Khan as the first Afghan envoy to Washington.

Full diplomatic relations between the Afghanistan and the United States began in 1934. Shortly after the end of World War II, His Majesty King Zahir Shah dispatched Abdul Hussein Aziz as the first Afghan Ambassador to the United States. Ambassador Aziz leased a historic building from an outgoing Supreme Court Chief Justice (The building was later purchased by Ambassador Abdullah Malikyar). That building continues to house the Embassy more than half a century later. President Roosevelt appointed William Hornibrook as the first U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, on November 14, 1935.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower made history when he became the first U.S. President to visit Afghanistan on December 9, 1959. It is reported that seeing Afghanistan had long been a dream of President Eisenhower. Reflecting on his trip, President Eisenhower noted that he found the Afghan people to be "the most determined lot I have ever encountered.” The first U.S. visit by an Afghan Head of State took place in September 1963, when His Majesty King Zahir Shah on the invitation of President John F. Kennedy. Throughout the successive decades, the U.S.-Afghanistan partnership continued to grow, including the contribution of a dedicated group of Peace Corps volunteers between 1962 and 1979.

Sadly, the Embassy was not immune from the conflict that raged over the ocean within Afghanistan. After the Taliban seized control of Kabul, representatives from competing factions feuded over control of the Embassy building. Although the Taliban was not recognized by the United States, their representative in Washington occupied the Embassy building until the summer of 1997, whereupon the State Department officially closed the Embassy.

In January 2002, after the establishment of the Interim Afghan Administration, bilateral relations were restored between Afghanistan and the United States. In an emotional ceremony, the Afghan flag was once again raised outside the Embassy in the presence of then Chairman Hamid Karzai and U.S. officials. The Embassy building, which had been neglected and lay in disrepair, was renovated and reopened in June of 2002. The Embassy is now under the leadership of Ambassador Said Tayeb Jawad and has been lauded by numerous U.S. officials as being one of the most hard-working missions in all of Washington, DC. Ambassador Jawad is also non-resident envoy to: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Uruguay.

Afghan Representatives in Washington, D.C.

from 1943 to the Present

Abdul Hussain Aziz, Afghan Minister (1943-1948)

Mohammed Naim Khan, Charge d'Affaires (1948-1950)

Abdul Hamid Aziz, Charge d'Affaires (1950-1951)

Mohammed Kabir Ludin, Ambassador (1953-1956)

Dr. Najibullah Torwayana, Ambassador (1956-1958)

Mohammed Hashim Maiwandwal, Ambassador (1958-1963)

Dr. Abdul Majid, Ambassador (1963-1967)

Abdullah Malikyar, Ambassador (1967-1978)

Dr. Abdul Waheed Karim, Ambassador (1978-80)

Noor Ahmad Noor, Ambassador (1980-1981)

Dr. Mohed Salem Spartak, charge d'affaires (1982-1984)

Mohammad Haidar Rafiq, charge d'affaires (1984-1985)

Mohammad Ashraf Samimi, charge d'affaires (1985-1986)

Mr. Rouhullah Erfaqi (1986-1987)

Mia Gul, charge d'affaires (1988-1990)

Abdul Ghafoor Jawshan, charge d'affaires (1990-1992)

Abdul Rahim, charge d'affaires (1992-1994)

Yar Mohammad Mohabat, charge d'affaires (1994-1995)

Haroun Amin, charge d'affaires (2002)

Isaq Sharhyar, Ambassador (2002-2003)

Said T. Jawad, Ambassador (2003-Present)


American Ambassadors to Afghanistan from 1935 to the Present

William H. Hornibrook (1935 - 1936) - Minister Plenipotentiary

Louis G. Dreyfus, Jr. (1940 - 1942) - Minister Plenipotentiary

Cornelius Van Hemert Engert (1942 - 1945) - Minister Plenipotentiary

Ely E. Palmer (1945 - 1948) - Minister Plenipotentiary

Louis G. Dreyfus, Jr. (1949 - 1951) - First formal ambassador

George Robert Merrell (1951 - 1952)

Angus I. Ward (1952 - 1956)

Sheldon T. Mills (1956 - 1959)

Henry A. Byroade (1959 - 1962)

John M. Steeves (1962 - 1966)

Robert G. Neumann (1966 - 1973)

Theodore L. Eliot, Jr. (1973 - 1978)

Adolph Dubs (1978 - 1979)

From 1979 – 2001, the United States did not have an Ambassador posted in Afghanistan, although U.S. interests in Afghanistan were represented by a number of charge d'affaires. From 1981 to 2002, there was no official U.S. embassy in Kabul

James F. Dobbins (2001) - Special US Ambassador to oversee reopening of embassy, not official ambassador

Ryan C. Crocker (2001-2002) - charge d'affaires before official ambassador could be chosen

Robert Finn (2002 - 2003)

Zalmay Khalilzad (2003 - 2005)

Ronald E. Neumann (2005 - 2007)

William  B. Wood (2007 - 2009)

Karl Eikenberry (2009 - Present)

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