There are families at US Embassy Kabul?

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Secretary Clinton’s US Embassy Kabul meet and greet last week was labeled a “Meet and Greet at Embassy Kabul with Employees and Their Families.” This almost gave the impression of “normal” with dependent family members in the warzone.

Of course, family denotes the traditional basic unit consisting of two parents and children or spouse and children, or the not so traditional one parent/child/ren composition. As far as I know, the US Embassy in Kabul is still a fully unaccompanied post. Well, unaccompanied except for the ambassador’s wife, Ching Eikenberry and the spouse of the deputy ambassador, Dr. Marie Ricciardone. Both are reportedly working for the US mission in Kabul. Are there any other spouses, senior or otherwise, working at the mission there? Are there children in Kabul? Or is that post still, really for adults only and the title of the meet and greet was simply a “cut and paste” lapse?

I see that Liz of Nick and Liz Go Global will be joining Nick in Kabul in late November. But other than those couples, I don’t really know how many family members are on official orders in Kabul (local employees excepted).

There are six fully unaccompanied posts in the Foreign Service, according to the FSJ in March 2009: Baghdad, Kabul, Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, and Peshawar. The adult family member is able to accompany the employee if he/she is authorized by the Under Secretary for Management. But this is on a case by case basis. I understand that the adult family member must secure employment at the mission before authorization is granted.

In any case, if you are a spouse and looking for a job in Kabul – there are about 170 jobs posted for Afghanistan right now. A bunch of the jobs are on Limited Noncareer Appointment (LNA), which is usually what you get when you work at any overseas mission, anyway. These positions are limited in time – usually for about one year. But your employee-spouse will most probably be on a one-year assignment to Afghanistan, too.

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