Afghanistan War Strategy Facing 'Serious' Setbacks

Other quality-of-life issues threaten to reduce the effectiveness of U.S. civilians in Afghanistan, such as long days and inconvenient work hours.

"Continual 80-hour work weeks, even with periodic R&Rs, may, in fact, reduce productivity as staff reaches the half-way point in their tours of duty. The time difference between Kabul and Washington regularly extends Kabul's workday with a flurry of late-night requests to clear briefers, or provide information for Washington's consumption first thing in the morning, Washington time," the report said.

Report: Quality of Life at Embassy Kabul Is Difficult

"In addition, Washington's often preferred time for video conferences or telephone calls is at the end of their day, which equates with 2:00 a.m. or 3:00 a.m. Kabul time," according to the report. "Last-minute requests that Kabul be prepared to participate in information sharing meetings or policy discussions in the middle of the night sap the energy of the senior staff, disrupt the next day's meeting or travel schedule, and add to already long work days."

Along with highlighting problems and potential challenges, the report made 89 recommendations, and 46 informal recommendations.

But it makes clear there is no easy short-term rectification, especially with only more civilians to come over the next two years.

"The quality of life at Embassy Kabul is difficult and will remain so for the indefinite future as the arrival of even more personnel increases the stresses on the infrastructure," the report said.

"Permanent office buildings are already filled to capacity. Basic systems are at or near capacity. Management, with the strong support of the department, including [Bureau of South and Central Asia] and [Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations], copes on a day-to-day basis," it read.

"There is some concern that the additional civilian personnel now arriving in Kabul will outstrip the ability of the embassy's infrastructure to meet the demands placed upon it in the short term. While the management section has a carefully orchestrated plan for construction of both permanent and temporary office and housing units for the civilian uplift, a slight delay in any one phase could result in a serious shortfall in life support."

The report is available online at

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