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PROTECTING AMERICA FROM TERRORIST ATTACK
Our New Office in Kabul, Afghanistan

06/21/06

Map of Afghanistan

Shortly after the attacks of 9/11, the FBI sent teams of special agents and specialists to Afghanistan to help a country free itself from the grips of a terrorist regime and to track down those responsible for the attacks on the U.S.

Today, at the invitation of the new Afghan government, we have a permanent presence in the country. Our Legal Attaché Office—or Legat—is located at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, allowing our staff to work directly with the government of Afghanistan and with U.S. government entities in the country on security issues of mutual concern.

Our role in Afghanistan was, and continues to be, primarily counterterrorism-based: interviewing members of al Qaeda and the Taliban who are captured by U.S. and international security forces in Afghanistan and addressing terrorism leads and issues developed in the country and elsewhere.

For example: In July 2005, Legat personnel recognized the importance of an individual arrested by one of Afghanistan’s security forces. This identification led the FBI to several other individuals and helped recover valuable intelligence, including a terrorist training manual, bomb material, instructions on counterfeiting passports, and other documents.

“Our efforts here have led directly to numerous investigations back in the U.S. and to the recovery and development of valuable intelligence,” said Special Agent Scott A. Smith, who opened the office in April 2005 but who has since returned stateside.

Legal Attaché Brian F. McCauley—previously our Afghanistan program manager in Washington—is now spearheading our initiatives and partnerships in the country. “The government of Afghanistan, the Department of Defense, and coalition forces are extremely supportive of the FBI’s presence and initiatives here,” McCauley said. “We’ve developed exceptional relationships with our Afghan and military counterparts.”

The Legat also coordinates the work of our agents and specialists sent to the Afghan capital of Kabul to conduct investigations with local officials into attacks on Americans and on U.S. companies in the region. For example:

  • In August 2004, the Kabul offices of the U.S.-based DynCorp International were severely damaged by a car bomb, killing three Americans. FBI agents and Afghan investigators investigated this terrorist incident, leading to the arrest and conviction of four people.
  • In September 2004, a suicide bomber detonated six grenades in a crowded street market, killing an American and wounding one other. Again, the combined efforts of the FBI and Afghan officials led to the arrest and conviction of two individuals.

“We’re a long way from home and the work is often dangerous and demanding,” said McCauley, “but I believe our efforts here are vital to the FBI’s mission of protecting America.”

Resources: FBI Counterterrorism webpage.