List of ambassadors of the United States to Afghanistan

Chargé d'Affaires of the United States to Afghanistan
سفير ايالات متحده أمريكا به افغانستان
U.S. Department of State official seal.svg
Seal of the United States Department of State
Ross Wilson Ambassador.jpg
Incumbent
Ross Wilson
Acting

since January 18, 2020
Nominator The President of the United States
Appointer The President
with Senate advice and consent
Inaugural holder William H. Hornibrook
as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary
Formation May 4, 1935
Website U.S. Embassy - Kabul
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul, 2010

The United States Ambassador to Afghanistan is the official representative of the President of the United States to the head of state of Afghanistan.

The States recognized Afghanistan, then under the rule of King Amānullāh, on July 26, 1921. Diplomatic relations were established in 1935. The first ambassador appointed to Afghanistan was William H. Hornibrook, who was concurrently commissioned to Persia, as Iran was known then, and resident in Tehran. Until 1942, the U.S. Ambassador to Persia/Iran was also the Ambassador to Afghanistan. The U.S. Legation at Kabul was established on June 6, 1942, with Charles W. Thayer as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim. Cornelius Van Hemert Engert presented his credentials to the government of Afghanistan on July 2, 1942, as the first envoy solely accredited to Afghanistan.[1]

Ambassador Adolph Dubs was assassinated in a botched kidnapping attempt in 1979. For the next ten years no ambassador was appointed; only a series of chargés d’affaires represented the U.S. in Kabul. The embassy at Kabul was closed on January 30, 1989, due to concerns that the new regime would not be able to maintain security and protect diplomats following the final departure of Soviet forces from the country.[1]

Following the overthrow of the Taliban government, the U.S. Liaison Office in Kabul opened on December 17, 2001, with Ambassador James Dobbins serving as Director. The United States recognized the Afghan Interim Administration on December 22, 2001, when it assumed the authority to represent Afghanistan in its external relations. The embassy reopened on January 17, 2002, with Ryan Crocker as Chargé d’Affaires a.i.[1]

The U.S. Embassy to Afghanistan is located in Kabul.

Ambassadors and chiefs of mission

  • William H. Hornibrook – Political appointee[2]
    • Title: Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: January 22, 1935
    • Presented credentials: May 4, 1935
    • Terminated mission: Left Tehran March 16, 1936

Note: The names of the chargés heading the Afghanistan mission between Hornibrook’s departure in 1936 and the arrival of Dreyfus in 1941 have not been recorded.

  • Louis G. Dreyfus, Jr. – Career FSO[2]
    • Title: Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: February 16, 1940
    • Presented credentials: May 19, 1941
    • Terminated mission: Superseded by establishment of legation in Kabul, July 25, 1942

Note: Legation Kabul was opened June 6, 1942 with Charles W. Thayer as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim.

  • Cornelius Van Hemert Engert – Career FSO
    • Title: Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: May 2, 1942
    • Presented credentials: July 2, 1942
    • Terminated mission: Left post August 17, 1945
  • Ely Palmer – Career FSO
    • Title: Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: February 9, 1945
    • Presented credentials: December 6, 1945
    • Terminated mission: Promoted to Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary

Note: During Palmer’s tenure as envoy, the Legation was elevated to Embassy status on June 5, 1948, when Palmer presented his credentials to the Afghan government.

  • Ely Palmer – Career FSO
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: May 6, 1948
    • Presented credentials: June 5, 1948
    • Terminated mission: Left post November 18, 1948
  • Louis G. Dreyfus, Jr. – Career FSO
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: April 21, 1949
    • Presented credentials: August 16, 1949
    • Terminated mission: Left post January 19, 1951
  • George Robert Merrell – Career FSO
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: April 19, 1951
    • Presented credentials: June 28, 1951
    • Terminated mission: Left post May 3, 1952
  • Angus I. Ward – Career FSO
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: June 27, 1952
    • Presented credentials: November 8, 1952
    • Terminated mission: Left post March 3, 1956
  • Sheldon T. Mills – Career FSO
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: March 28, 1956
    • Presented credentials: May 6, 1956
    • Terminated mission: Left post February 3, 1959
  • Henry A. Byroade – Career FSO
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: January 29, 1959
    • Presented credentials: March 21, 1959
    • Terminated mission: Left post January 19, 1962
  • John M. Steeves – Career FSO
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: February 7, 1962
    • Presented credentials: March 20, 1962
    • Terminated mission: Left post July 21, 1966
  • Robert G. Neumann – Political appointee
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: November 3, 1966
    • Presented credentials: February 19, 1967
    • Terminated mission: Left post September 10, 1973
  • Theodore L. Eliot, Jr. – Career FSO
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: September 20, 1973
    • Presented credentials: November 21, 1973
    • Terminated mission: Left post June 14, 1978
  • Adolph Dubs – Career FSO
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: June 27, 1978
    • Presented credentials: July 12, 1978
    • Terminated mission: Assassinated at post February 14, 1979
  • J. Bruce Amstutz – Career FSO
    • Title: Chargé d’Affaires a.i.
    • February 1979–February 1980
  • Hawthorne Q. Mills – Career FSO
    • Title: Chargé d’Affaires a.i.
    • February 1980–January 1982
  • Archer K. Blood – Career FSO
    • Title: Chargé d’Affaires a.i.
    • Nomination rejected by the Afghan government
  • Charles F. Dunbar – Career FSO
    • Title: Chargé d’Affaires a.i.
    • 1982–1983
  • Edward Hurwitz – Career FSO
    • Title: Chargé d’Affaires a.i.
    • 1983–1986
  • James Maurice Ealum
    • Title: Chargé d’Affaires a.i.
    • March 1986–September 1987
  • Jon D. Glassman
    • Title: Chargé d’Affaires a.i.
    • 1987–1989

Note: Peter Tomsen served as Special Envoy to Afghanistan (to the Northern Alliance) 1989–1992.

Note: The U.S. Embassy Kabul was closed in January 1989. The Embassy was reopened January 17, 2002.[1]

  • James F. Dobbins – Career FSO
    • Title: Ambassador (in charge of reestablishing U.S. Embassy)
    • Served: December 17, 2001 – January 2, 2002
  • Ryan Crocker – Career FSO
    • Title: Chargé d’Affaires a.i.
    • Appointed: January 2, 2002[3]
    • Presented credentials: Unknown
    • Terminated mission: April 3, 2002
  • Robert Finn – Career FSO
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: March 21, 2002
    • Presented credentials: April 3, 2002
    • Terminated mission: Left post August 1, 2003
  • Zalmay Khalilzad – Political appointee
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: November 17, 2003
    • Presented credentials: November 28, 2003
    • Terminated mission: Left post June 20, 2005
  • Ronald E. Neumann – Career FSO
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: June 27, 2005
    • Presented credentials: August 1, 2005
    • Terminated mission: Left post April 10, 2007
  • William Braucher Wood – Career FSO
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: March 28, 2007
    • Presented credentials: April 16, 2007
    • Terminated mission: c. March 2009
  • Karl Eikenberry – Political appointee
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: April 3, 2009
    • Presented credentials: May 21, 2009
    • Terminated mission: July 25, 2011
  • Ryan Crocker – Career FSO[4][5]
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: July 7, 2009[6]
    • Presented credentials: July 25, 2011[7]
    • Terminated mission: July 13, 2012
  • James B. Cunningham - Career FSO
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: August 2012, Sworn in as ambassador August 12, 2012.
    • Presented credentials: August 13, 2012[8]
    • Terminated mission: 2014
  • P. Michael McKinley - Career FSO[9]
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: December 2014
    • Presented credentials: January 6, 2015[10]
    • Terminated mission: December 18, 2016
  • Hugo Llorens
    • Title: Career Ambassador and Special Chargé d’Affaires
    • Appointed: December 19, 2016
    • Terminated mission: November 17, 2017
  • John R. Bass
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: September 28, 2017
    • Presented credentials: December 12, 2017
    • Terminated mission: January 6, 2020[11]
  • Ross Wilson
    • Title: Chargé d’Affaires
    • Appointed: January 18, 2020

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