In wake of Benghazi attack, internal probe finds Afghanistan posts vulnerable
U.S. diplomatic facilities in Afghanistan have serious security lapses that pose “unnecessary risk to staff,” including poor emergency preparedness and inadequate protections that might allow classified materials to fall into the hands of attacking enemies, according to an internal report that raises fresh questions about the State Department’s commitment to safety in the aftermath of the Benghazi tragedy.
The confidential State Department inspector general’s report, obtained by The Washington Times under the Freedom of Information Act, directly criticizes the department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security for failing to perform a physical inspection before approving the security plan for the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, which was the target of a brash attack by Taliban insurgents two years ago.
When IG investigators inspected the embassy in Kabul, they found inadequate emergency shelters, food, water rations, medical supplies and backup communication equipment that would be essential to repel or survive an attack, according to the report, which was released to The Times partly redacted for security reasons.
Similar inspections elsewhere found the U.S. diplomatic post in Afghanistan’s western city of Herat lacked an emergency action plan instructing employees on how to respond to an attack and that a Provincial Reconstruction Team outpost in Qala-e-Naw lacked an agreement with allied forces to provide a military response in case of attack.
“The lack of adequate emergency shelters [redacted] the lack of sufficient emergency supplies and equipment, the lack of redundancy in communications, the [redacted] absence of an agreement with the non-Department law enforcement on emergency assistance, and the inability to identify and destroy sensitive material unnecessarily increased the risk of injury to embassy staff and of compromising sensitive material during an emergency situation,” the report warns.