Afghanistan shares a deeply rooted history of friendship and partnership with the United States.
The first known contact between Afghanistan and the United States occurred in the 1830’s, when a Pennsylvania adventurer, Josiah Harlan, traveled throughout our region. On this trip he met Afghans like Shuja Shah and Dost Mahommed Khan, the founder of the Barakzai dynasty in Afghanistan. Shortly after Afghanistan regained its 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 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 till date — more than half a century later. President Roosevelt appointed William Hornibrook as the first U.S. Envoy to Afghanistan, on January 22, 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 of 1963, when His Majesty King Zahir Shah accepted an 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.
During the time of conflict raging over Afghanistan, sadly, the Afghan Embassy in Washington did not stay unaffected.. After the Taliban seized control of Kabul, representatives from competing factions feuded over control of the embassy building. Although the Taliban were not recognized by the United States, their representative in Washington occupied the embassy building until the summer of 1997, whereupon the U.S. State Department officially closed the Afghan 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 2002. The embassy is now under the leadership of Ambassador Hamdullah Mohib who has launched a new chapter of close relationship between the two countries. Ambassador Mohib is also non-resident envoy to Argentina, Colombia, Dominican Republic, and Mexico.
AFGHANISTAN REPRESENTATIVES IN WASHINGTON, D.C. SINCE 1943
- Abdul Hussain Aziz, Minister (1943-1948)
- Mohammed Naim Khan, Ambassador (1948-1950)
- Abdul Hamid Aziz, Charge d’Affaires (1950-1951)
- Mohammed Kabir Ludin, Ambassador (1953-1956)
- Najibullah Torwayana, Ambassador (1956-1958)
- Mohammed Hashim Maiwandwal,Ambassador (1958-1963)
- Abdul Majid, Ambassador (1963-1967)
- Abdullah Malikyar, Ambassador (1967-1978)
- Abdul Waheed Karim, Ambassador (1978-80)
- Noor Ahmad Noor, Ambassador (1980-1981)
- Mohed Salem Spartak, Chargé d’Affaires (1982-1984)
- Mohammad Haidar Rafiq, Chargé d’Affaires (1984-1985)
- Mohammad Ashraf Samimi, Chargé d’Affaires (1985-1986)
- Rouhullah Erfaqi, Chargé d’Affaires (1986-1987)
- Mia Gul, Chargé d’Affaires (1988-1990)
- Abdul Ghafoor Jawshan, Chargé d’Affaires (1990-1992)
- Abdul Rahim, Chargé d’Affaires (1992-1994)
- Yar Mohammad Mohabat, Chargé d’Affaires (1994-1995)
- Haroun Amin, Chargé d’Affaires (2002)
- Isaq Sharhyar, Ambassador (2002-2003)
- Said T. Jawad, Ambassador (2003-2010)
- Khojesta Fana Ebrahimkhel, Chargé d’Affaires (2010-2011)
- Eklil Ahmad Hakimi, Ambassador (2011-2014)
- Hamdullah Mohib, Ambassador (2015-Present)
AMERICAN REPRESENTATIVES IN AFGHANISTAN SINCE 1935
- 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., first formal Ambassador (1949 – 1951)
- George Robert Merrell, Ambassador (1951 – 1952)
- Angus I. Ward, Ambassador (1952 – 1956)
- Sheldon T. Mills, Ambassador (1956 – 1959)
- Henry A. Byroade, Ambassador (1959 – 1962)
- John M. Steeves, Ambassador (1962 – 1966)
- Robert G. Neumann, Ambassador (1966 – 1973)
- Theodore L. Eliot, Jr., Ambassador (1973 – 1978)
- Adolph Dubs, Ambassador (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 chargé d’affaires. From 1981 to 2002, there was no U.S. embassy in Kabul.
- James F. Dobbins, Special U.S. Envoy (2001)
- Ryan C. Crocker, Chargé d’Affaires (2001-2002)
- Robert Finn, Ambassador (2002 – 2003)
- Zalmay Khalilzad, Ambassador (2003 – 2005)
- Ronald E. Neumann, Ambassador (2005 – 2007)
- William B. Wood, Ambassador (2007 – 2009)
- Karl Eikenberry, Ambassador (2009 – 2011)
- Ryan Crocker, Ambassador (2011 – 2012)
- James Cunningham, Ambassador (2012 – 2014)
- Michael McKinley, Ambassador (2014 – Present)