Tuesday, November 24, 2009

There are families at US Embassy Kabul?

Scientific classification of living things use...Image via Wikipedia

Secretary Clinton’s US Embassy Kabul meet and greet last week was labeled a “Meet and Greet at Embassy Kabul with Employees and Their Families.” This almost gave the impression of “normal” with dependent family members in the warzone.

Of course, family denotes the traditional basic unit consisting of two parents and children or spouse and children, or the not so traditional one parent/child/ren composition. As far as I know, the US Embassy in Kabul is still a fully unaccompanied post. Well, unaccompanied except for the ambassador’s wife, Ching Eikenberry and the spouse of the deputy ambassador, Dr. Marie Ricciardone. Both are reportedly working for the US mission in Kabul. Are there any other spouses, senior or otherwise, working at the mission there? Are there children in Kabul? Or is that post still, really for adults only and the title of the meet and greet was simply a "cut and paste" lapse?

I see that Liz of Nick and Liz Go Global will be joining Nick in Kabul in late November. But other than those couples, I don’t really know how many family members are on official orders in Kabul (local employees excepted).

There are six fully unaccompanied posts in the Foreign Service, according to the FSJ in March 2009: Baghdad, Kabul, Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, and Peshawar. The adult family member is able to accompany the employee if he/she is authorized by the Under Secretary for Management. But this is on a case by case basis. I understand that the adult family member must secure employment at the mission before authorization is granted.

In any case, if you are a spouse and looking for a job in Kabul – there are about 170 jobs posted for Afghanistan right now. A bunch of the jobs are on Limited Noncareer Appointment (LNA), which is usually what you get when you work at any overseas mission, anyway. These positions are limited in time – usually for about one year. But your employee-spouse will most probably be on a one-year assignment to Afghanistan, too.

6 comments:

Robert said...

Crocker's wife worked in the Embassy Baghdad, as did DCM Butenis' significant other.

jc said...

In addition to tandems FS couples and couples in which one (or both) partner is either a contractor or 3161, there are also a limited number of EFM positions at the high threat embassies. The number ten sticks in my head - although whether this was Baghdad, Kabul (or Islamabad?) I'm not sure. I knew EFMs in PA and the Consulate.

Michael said...

The "families" referred to are undoubtedly those of the mission's locally employed staff. It is a sad commentary that even though LES at most mission's far outnumber their American counterparts, we think so little of them as to forget that they exist when trying to parse at phrase as simple as “Meet and Greet at Embassy Kabul with Employees and Their Families.”

Liz said...

Liz of "Nick and Liz" here. Afghanistan is indeed an unaccompanied post. However there are a number of us FS spouses here on EFM (eligible family member) assignments. And not just ambassadors' wives either. But the EFM jobs can be hard to come by, and aren't always the type of jobs one would want to take.

diplopundit said...

Hi Liz! Glad to see you made it there. Just saw your new posting. Thanks for the note and to hear that there are other EFMs there and not just senior spouses. Take care. Will be in the lookout for more posts from you from Kabul.

diplopundit said...

@ Robert - Ryan Crocker and his wife were actually a "tandem couple" - she was also in the Service, not a trailing spouse.

@ JC - I think most of these are in the NEA posts; if I remember right, NEA actually has the highest employment rate for family members.

@Michael - Actually, I have not forgotten that local employees have families. And I do realize that there are more local employees than American employees in the FS. But since I was talking about an unaccompanied post and families on official orders, I have purposely excluded the local employees as I made clear in my post. As to parsing the phrase, you can totally fault me for parsing it in my own blog, thanks :-)