US Embassy Kabul: All U.S. workers in Afghanistan deserve praise

The August 23 issue of WaPo includes the following letter from Ambassador Crocker:

Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s story about State Department representative Carter Malkasian [“Walking the walk to win Afghans’ trust,” front page, Aug. 14] properly praised the work of such civilians in the transformation of Afghanistan. Mr. Malkasian was an outstanding officer, and the department was proud to have recruited, hired and trained him — first for Iraq and then for Afghanistan.

However, it is important to note that there are hundreds of foreign service officers and other federal agency workers doing similar work in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. Foreign service and civil service officers are highly regarded by the military and the Afghan people. More than 400 U.S. government civilians live and work with the military in more than 80 locations outside of Kabul, under conditions of danger and hardship. Our field personnel come from the State Department, the United States Agency for International Development and other federal agencies.

Even in Kabul, where 750 U.S. civilians live and work, there is nothing easy about service in Afghanistan. Our civilians volunteered to come here and are motivated by a deep sense of patriotism and service. Many go on to other difficult assignments, in the region or elsewhere, including back-to-back tours in Afghanistan.

We appreciate that The Post featured the good work of one civilian in Afghanistan but want to make it clear that he is by no means alone.

Ryan C. Crocker, Kabul