United States Embassy, Kabul, Afghanistan Challenge Coin

Great Massoud Circle

Located in the downtown city-centre, off Great Massoud Circle, the US mission in Kabul, Afghanistan represents the foreign interests of the American Government and US State Department. It is here those groups can partner with the generous host nation of Afghanistan to confront terrorism while promoting the legitimate governance and liberty to the Afghan people. Currently, the serving Ambassador is Mr. Ryan Crocker, whom was selected by President Barack Obama on July 25, 2011. However, the physical presence of the US Embassy in the capital city wasn’t once as developed as it currently is. Elevated in May 1948 from the U.S. Kabul Legation, it was forced to close in 1989 as tribal feuding inside the capital had become such a risk. Thus with the Soviet threat in Afghanistan defeated, the US State Department deemed it was no longer feasible to have the station remain open. [1]

US Embassy, Kabul, Afghanistan

The following decade for the people of Afghanistan saw the country descended into a long period of tribal warfare, warlordism, and civil war. By 1996 when the Taliban came into power the US Embassy in Kabul was only a sad reminder of better days. The embassy re-opened after the Operation Enduring Freedom in late 2001, but had been heavily damaged and looted since it was last staffed. Renovations began immediately until its completion in early 2006, when U.S. President George W. Bush and Afghan President Hamid Karzai held an inauguration ceremony celebrating the reopening and of the new US Embassy. Featuring a much larger compound that is artistically pleasing, it also has appropriate measures to provide for comfort and security for all staff and visitors. It is from this reconstruction that the US Embassy challenge coin comes to symbolize the US diplomatic mission in Afghanistan. [2] Today, despite several recent attacks against the embassy in 2011, the US mission endures and will not let its purpose be dissuaded by those who seek a radicalized alternative in Afghanistan.



Only a 2” diameter challenge coin, the forefront features the Massoud Monument in the center of Great Massoud Circle a short distance from the US Embassy. Hands held aloft, within their support is a globe, which has Afghanistan as a nation, identified. Behind this stylized feature are a series of off-colored blue chevrons on top of a off-yellow field. This pattern is taken from the stained glass windows on the front of the new US Embassy that was designed to offer artistic flair to a building whose outward exterior offers large expanses of featureless sand colored walls.








Simply placed, the US State Department seal appears on the reverse in simple brass with no colors. Featuring the US “Great Seal” the largest feature is the American Bald Eagle with a shield comprising 13 stripes for the original colonies above which is a field with stars representing the Congress. In the eagle’s mouth is a scroll reading E Pluribus Unum (Latin for “Out of Many, One”) alluding to the Union. Held in the eagles talons are 13 arrows and an olive branch symbolizing the war powers of strength and peace held by Congress, while above the star constellation represents the emergence of a new State attaining its sovereignty among the other world powers. [3] Above the eagle  on the outer edge reads “American Embassy” while below the seal “Kabul, Afghanistan” identifies the origins of this coin. A row of six stars appear on either side of the coin on the outer edges.




Works Cited

1. US Department of State. About the Embassy. October 13, 2011. http://kabul.usembassy.gov/about_the_embassy.html (accessed November 18, 2012).

2. —. Embassy of the United States in Kabul. August 19, 2010. http://kabul.usembassy.gov/ (accessed November 16, 2012).

3. —. The Great Seal of the United States. US Department of State Bureau of Public Affairs. http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/27807.pdf (accessed November 18, 2012).


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