Cablegate: Country Clearance Granted for Dr. Jonah Blank

Published: Sat 22 Dec 2007 08:35 AM
DE RUEHBUL #4172/01 3560835
O 220835Z DEC 07 ZFF4
E.O. 12958: N/A
REF: STATE 167796
1. U.S. Embassy Kabul welcomes the visit of Dr. Jonah Blank,
Senate Foreign Relations Staffer and grants country clearance
for the period December 29 to January 01, for fact-finding
relating to ongoing war issues in Afghanistan. Control
officer is Political Officer C John Long, email address; cellular telephone: 011-93-079-771-009,
office number 011-93-070-108-224. All travelers who possess
U.S. Department of State badges should bring their ID for
identification purposes and to obtain an Embassy ID. Dr.
Blank holds a TS/SCI clearance.
2. VISAS: A visa for Afghanistan MUST be obtained prior to
arrival; visas on arrival are not available. You may need a
visa for the cities you transit, as well. U.S. citizens do
not require a United Arab Emirates (for Dubai) visa for stays
of less than 30 days.
3. IMPORTANT: Appropriate Clothing
WOMEN: For meetings with Afghan officials, especially at the
Palace, women are encouraged to wear long dresses (hemline
line below the calf) or trousers, sleeves below the elbow and
a modest neckline (no sleeveless or low necked tops). Many
women carry a shawl or wrap. It is always appropriate to
have a head covering - scarf or shawl - in official meetings.
MEN: For meetings with Afghan officials, especially those at
the Palace, men are encouraged to wear business suit and
Wearing tight or revealing clothing is unacceptable both for
official meetings and any time you are in public. For both
men and women going off the Embassy compound it is
appropriate to wear long pants or jeans and a shirt with a
long tail and sleeves below the elbow. Wearing shorts and
low waist pants and jeans revealing the bellybutton is not
appropriate when out in the host country community.
The recommended travel route to Kabul is through Dubai. This
requires Embassy Kabul assistance to book flights from Dubai
into Kabul. The traveler is responsible for booking their
hotel reservations in Dubai.
Flights are available daily into Kabul although they may be
cancelled or delayed on short notice, especially during the
winter months. Please note that the Embassy is closed on
Friday and cannot provide customs, immigration, or baggage
expediting on that day.
a. Dubai: United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS)
and KamAir flights may be booked through the Embassy Kabul
GSO Travel Office. Ariana Afghan flights are not authorized
for travelers on USG orders. Passengers are allowed 30 kg
(66 lbs.) of luggage with a $5.00 (UNHAS) or $3.00 (KamAir)
per kilo overweight charge payable in local currency. UNHAS
flies to Kabul on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, and KamAir
operates daily. UNHAS flight check-in is at 1000 in Terminal
2 for a 1200 departure, and the KamAir flight check-in is at
0500 in Terminal 2 for a 0700 departure. For UNHAS flights,
the passenger will receive an electronic confirmation from
the Embassy Travel Office a few days before they travel. For
KamAir flights, tickets can be picked up at the check-in
counter in Terminal 2. Please be sure to identify yourself
as a U.S. Embassy passenger to be assured they can give you
your boarding pass.
b. Alternate routes to Kabul
DELHI: Indian Airlines flies between Delhi and Kabul on
Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, departing Delhi at 1110, and
KamAir flies from Delhi on Monday and Thursday, departing
Delhi at 0930. These flights may be booked through a
commercial travel agent, but you must inform your Embassy
control officer and the Embassy Travel Office, at, of your arrival date and time so
you can be added to the expediting and vehicle roster.
ISLAMABAD: Due to security concerns and logistics problems,
Post does not recommend transit through Islamabad. Transit
through Pakistan requires country clearance and a valid visa
and all arrangements for air travel, transport and hotels in
Islamabad must be coordinated in advance with the U.S.
Embassy in Islamabad.
BAKU: Azal Airlines flies from Baku to Kabul on Sunday,
Monday, and Wednesday with a departure time of 0800. This
flight may be booked through a commercial travel agent, but
you must inform your Embassy control officer and the Embassy
Travel Office, at, of your arrival
date and time so you can be added to the expediting and
vehicle roster.
5. Telephone: International direct dial country code for
Afghanistan is 93. Embassy can be reached at the following
a. 93-70-10-8001 via international direct dial from
in the world. IDD toll charges apply.
b. 1-301-490-1042 (Embassy VOIP) from within the US, only
domestic long distance will be charged.
c. 1-202-216-6288 (USAID VOIP) to reach USAID in Kabul
within the US, only domestic long distance will be
d. DSN 318-237-3912 from any Department of Defense
6. EMAIL: Post has unclassified and classified e-mail,
record traffic, OPENNET Plus, and limited Internet
a. E-Mail Access: State Department employees only. Local
computer accounts are not created in Kabul for TDYs of less
than 90 days. State Department TDY personnel in Kabul can
access their home e-mail system through the use of Outlook
Web Access (OWA). Personnel should check with their local
systems administrators prior to departure to ensure their
network is part of the Department's Active Directory, and to
get the name of their local domain. This domain will be
selected from the login screen from Kabul. Active Directory
was created and installed to allow users to log in and access
their e-mail from anywhere in the world, thereby avoiding the
excessive workload on IRM staffs that is caused by creating
local accounts. At any given time we are hosting numerous
TDYs and it is not possible to create local accounts for
short stays. Systems administrators should instruct the
users in the use of OWA prior to departing. A word of
caution: Active Directory allows users to log in from
anywhere. However, it will also download your desktop to
Kabul. Any unnecessary items such as large documents,
PowerPoints, photographs etc., should be removed from your
desktop. Our network service can be slow, and the initial
log in could take a long time if it is downloading
unnecessary files.
b. Official travelers on temporary duty, including non-State
personnel, must coordinate the transport of official portable
computers (unclassified or classified) that will be used
within USG facilities with the RSO and ISSO. Please include
make, model and serial number in correspondence to Post.
Department of State policy prohibits the connection of
official, portable computers to OpenNet or ClassNet without
the explicit approval of the Post ISSO. 12 FAM 625.2.1
states that privately owned computers are not installed or
used in any Department of State office building.
7. Lodging is scarce and will be allotted according to the
following priority: permanent staff staying a year or more,
long-term TDY staff, short-term TDY staff and visitors. Most
TDYers will be housed in multi-bunk rooms in trailers.
Sheets, blankets, pillows and towels are provided. Rooms may
be cool at night. Self-service laundry facilities are
available. An American-style cafeteria provides breakfast,
lunch, and dinner, along with coffee, tea, and soft drinks
within per diem rates. You may wish to bring towels, layered
clothing for warmth, a small flashlight, and over-the-counter
medicines as needed, hand lotion, lip balm, shower shoes, and
snacks. On the compound, American dress is the norm, but
most women bring long sleeved garments, light jackets or
shawls to cover their arms for trips off compound. Two
Embassy gyms are available to all compound residents.
8. Money: Travelers should bring cash dollars. TDYers
should bring enough cash for their stay or a debit card, as
an ATM machine is available. Credit cards and checks are not
accepted in Kabul but U.S. dollars are widely accepted.
9. Fiscal Data: In accordance with Department of State
policy, post will direct charge each agency, organization or
visiting delegation for the actual costs attributed to its
visit. These costs include, but are not limited to, American
and locally engaged staff overtime; field travel by Embassy
employees; transportation costs for official vehicles; phone
usage; and the cost for representational events. All/all
visitors requesting administrative support services must
provide the Embassy with authorization and fiscal data (e.g.,
travel orders) against which the costs for requested items
can be charged. This information should be cabled or emailed
to the Embassy in advance of your arrival. Please note that
without a fund cite and authorization, post may not be able
to provide vehicles, drivers, or other services.
10. Ground Transportation: Travelers will be met at the
airport upon arrival by an Embassy expediter, driver, and
security officer. The GSO Motor Pool has limited
capabilities and will give priority to official travel, with
personal travel available only if vehicles and drivers are
available. USG employees are not authorized to use public
11. Medical: Kabul is a Class 1 Medical Clearance Post. If
you have any significant medical problems, you should avoid
travel to Afghanistan. In accordance with 3 FAM 1931.3
"Failure to obtain post-specific approval before traveling
abroad may result in the individual being denied
participation in the medical program and access to health
units abroad." Excursion Civil Service, WAE and TDY
personnel who will be at Post more than 60 days are required
to contact MED Clearances at 202-663-1668 or email to arrange or verify MED approval to
come to Post well in advance of their departure date.
a. Contractors or other long-term TDY employees who are not
direct hire USG employees are not covered under the
Department of State Medical Program, do not have Post Health
Unit privileges, are not covered by M/DGHR/MED for medevac
and should be covered by medevac insurance through their
contracting company.
b. The Embassy Health Unit is staffed by a Foreign Service
Health Practitioner and a Locally Employed Physician. An
International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) hospital
offers limited treatment capabilities.
c. Kabul is in a malaria zone from March to November.
During this time it is important to begin anti-malarial
medication before arriving at Post. Either Mefloquine 250 mg
weekly or Doxycycline 100mg daily are approved for malarial
prophylaxis. These medications must also be taken for 4
weeks after departing Post.
d. Individuals with sickle cell trait should carefully
consider the altitude of this Post before applying for
assignment here. Short-term (TDY) assignments carry an added
risk because of the lack of time for acclimatization.
Dehydration and stress from exercise or illness compound the
basic risks of high altitude.
e. Visitors should bring cold and intestinal medicines,
saline nasal spray, lip balm, sunscreen, dry skin care,
insect repellent with DEET, and tissues. If you wear
contacts, bring an ample supply of cleaning solution and two
pairs of your prescription glasses. The dry, dusty climate
can make wearing contacts uncomfortable. If you are taking
prescription medication (i.e. for hypertension or other)
bring sufficient amounts for more than the expected length of
your stay as pharmaceuticals are limited.
12. Security Guidelines:
a. The security environment in Kabul and throughout
Afghanistan is dangerous. There is continued potential for
attacks against U.S. citizens and interests in Afghanistan.
Terrorists do not distinguish between official and civilian
targets. Terrorist actions may include, but are not limited
to, rocket attacks, suicide operations, assassinations,
kidnappings, hijackings, shootings or bombings. Potential
exists in Kabul and the rest of the country for
demonstrations, riots, bombings, and other violent actions
against U.S. citizens and interests.
b. Visitors are advised to maintain a level of vigilance and
to heighten their security awareness while at post. American
citizens have been victimized by vehicle-borne explosives and
roadside bombs within the last year. Occasional rocket
attacks in the vicinity of the Embassy compound are
unpredictable and random. There have been incidents of
carjackings and robberies directed against NGOs, journalists
and diplomats carried out by aggressive and armed persons.
The proliferation of weapons on the street is extensive.
Host country and ISAF forces have had some success in making
arrests and seizing weapons. However travel outside of Kabul
remains extremely dangerous in many places, and travel within
Kabul after dark should also be avoided. Due to restrictions
on travel and limitations on available resources, TDY
travelers should be prepared to expect delays and possible
cancellations of events in Kabul and of proposed out-of-Kabul
c. Verification of security clearance level is required
prior to the issuance of an identification card. Persons who
will require unescorted access in the controlled access areas
(CAA) are responsible for ensuring that security clearances
are transmitted to post prior to their arrival.
d. The U.S. Embassy maintains a 2400 curfew. However,
changes in threat conditions may result in an earlier curfew
on a temporary basis. The RSO must clear any travel outside
of the city, as well as any proposed travel after dark.
Travel during daylight hours is permitted, but must be
performed in an armored vehicle. Anyone traveling off the
compound must sign out on departure and back in upon
returning to the compound. Personnel are advised to carry a
radio or cell phone to maintain contact in the event of an
e. Though the compound has been checked for mines and
unexploded ordinance (UXO), there remains the remote
possibility that a UXO or mine could remain. While in
Afghanistan, do not touch anything suspicious, avoid picking
up souvenirs, and immediately report any suspicious device to
RSO personnel. Outside the compound, red rocks are uncleared
mine areas, while white rocks are considered mine free areas.
Be advised, however, there remains a 10% chance that
unexploded mines remain in the mine cleared areas. For this
reason, during all travel in Kabul or out of the city,
travelers should remain on hard surface roads at all times.
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