Diplomatic History

Afghanistan shares a deeply rooted history of friendship and partnership with the United States.

The first known contact between Afghanistan and the United States occurred in the 1830’s when a Pennsylvania adventurer, Josiah Harlan, traveled throughout our region.

In 1921, The United States recognized Afghanistan following an official visit to the White House by an Afghan delegation led by General Wali Mohammad Khan. Later, the exchange of a series of official missions and correspondence led to the establishment of full diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1934.

On January 22, 1935, President Roosevelt appointed William Hornibrook as the first U.S. Envoy to Afghanistan. Later in 1943, His Majesty King Zahir Shah dispatched Abdul Hussein Aziz as the first Afghan Ambassador to the United screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-2-41-23-pmStates. Ambassador Aziz leased a historic building to serve as the Afghanistan Embassy. The historic building originally leased from a Supreme Court Justice continues to house the Embassy to this date — more than half a century later.

The formal diplomatic relations opened doors to new advancements for both states. In Afghanistan, projects to improve infrastructure and educational opportunities flourished. The Helmand Valley Authority Project is one of the most famous endeavors, known for the construction of dams, highways, airports and houses in the region.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower made history when he became the first U.S. President to visit Afghanistan in December 1959. It is said that seeing Afghanistan had long been a dream of President Eisenhower. Reflecting on his trip, President Eisenhower noted that he found the Afghan people to be “the most determined lot [he had] ever encountered”.  Likewise, Prime Minister Dawood had an equally memorable trip when he first visited the United States. Seeking to strengthen US/Afghan relations on his visit, Prime Minister Dawood signed a cultural exchange agreement, toured the country, and became the first Afghan to address the US Congress.

In 1963, King Mohammad Zahir became the first Afghan Head of State to visit the US with his wife Queen Homeira. Throughout all these official visits and the successive decades, the U.S./Afghan partnership continued to grow.

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-2-41-20-pmHowever, during the periods of conflict in Afghanistan from 1983 to 2002, the relations between the two countries experienced a halt and their respective embassies were both forced to closed.

In 2002, following the fall of the Taliban regime and the establishment of the Interim Administration in Afghanistan, both Embassies reopened and relations were restored.

Since then, the two countries have signed a ten-year Strategic Partnership Agreement for peace and economic growth, as well as a Bilateral Security Agreement to strengthen Afghanistan’s security forces.

The current Afghan ambassador to the United States of America is H.E. Roya Rahmani.

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