Small Wars Journal

The Day Embassy Kabul Forever Changed

Mon, 02/14/2011 - 7:16am
The Day Embassy Kabul Forever Changed:

Remembering the 1979 Assassination of Adolph "Spike" Dubs and

The Dismantling of the American Civilian Mission in Afghanistan

by Katherine Brown

Download The Full Article: The Day Embassy Kabul Forever Changed

At 8:40 a.m. on February 14, 1979, the United States Ambassador to Afghanistan, Adolph "Spike" Dubs, walked out of his residence in the Shahr-e-Naw neighborhood of Kabul and took a backseat in the black Cadillac waiting for him. His driver, Gul Mohammad, then took off for the U.S. Embassy, the American flags waving.

Moments later, Mohammad stopped the Cadillac at an intersection. A man dressed in a police uniform approached the car and ordered Mohammad to roll down the window. Dubs encouraged Mohammad to cooperate.

Five minutes later, Ambassador Dubs would be held hostage in Room 117 of the Kabul Hotel. Four hours and 20 minutes later, he would be dead.

The assassination of Ambassador Dubs 32 years ago today has rarely been referenced since we re-engaged with Afghanistan in late 2001. However, it was a catalyst for the suspension of the on-the-ground development and, ultimately, diplomatic missions inside Afghanistan before September 11th. Details about the tragic event and its aftermath illuminate Embassy Kabul's struggle to maintain a policy that both recognized Afghanistan's significance to U.S. national security interests and supported the Afghan people, despite their increasingly despotic and Soviet-leaning government. It is a vital piece of diplomatic history to remember as we prepare for a decreasingly militarized U.S. mission beyond 2014.

Download The Full Article: The Day Embassy Kabul Forever Changed

Katherine Brown is a Ph.D. candidate at Columbia University and an Adjunct Fellow at the American Security Project. She served as an official at Embassy Kabul from 2003-2004 and was a research fellow at the Counter-Insurgency Training Center at Camp Julien from May-June 2010. Katherine is also a Fellow with the Truman National Security Project.

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