US abandons diplomatic hub plan in Afghanistan

A report said American officials had earlier overlooked significant security problems at the site.

Washington: American officials have abandoned their plans to form a US’ diplomatic hub at a site in northern Afghanistan, deeming the location too dangerous, according to a report.

The decision came after signing a 10-year lease and spending over USD 80 million on the site in a bustling downtown district of the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e Sharif.

According to The Washington Post, American officials had earlier overlooked significant security problems at the site.

An assessment by the US embassy in Kabul revealed the problems included relying on local building techniques that made the compound vulnerable to a car bomb attack.

According to the paper, the embassy memo said the facility was far from ideal from the start.

“The compound, which housed a hotel when the Americans took it on, shared a wall with local shopkeepers. The space between the outer perimeter wall and buildings inside — a distance known as `setback` in war zone construction — was not up to US diplomatic standards set by the State Department’s Overseas Security Policy Board,” the memo said.

“The complex was surrounded by several tall buildings from which an attack could easily be launched,” it added.

According to the paper, had the Mazar-e Sharif consulate opened this year as planned, it would have been the second of four the US government intends to set up.

The US has a consulate in the western Afghan city of Herat and is assessing options for the three other cities where it intends to keep a permanent diplomatic presence: Kandahar in the south, Jalalabad in the east and Mazar-e Sharif.


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