Greetings from Kabul! The OSAC private sector traveling delegation includes Brad Brekke, Vice President Assets Protection at Target; Ralph Boelter, Target Director of International Security; David Schrimp, Director, Corporate Security Services at 3M Corporation; and the undersigned, as well as our public sector counterparts from OSAC Headquarters, Peter Ford, OSAC’s Deputy Executive Director, and Jacqueline Schools, Chief of the Research and Information Support Center (RISC).

The OSAC delegation departed Dubai on Sunday, December 2 and arrived at the Kabul International Airport via Safi Airways. After deplaning, the OSAC delegation gathered the luggage and proceeded through Afghan customs and immigration processing, which was surprisingly relatively painless.

Upon exiting the terminal, we are quickly hit by the chilly late afternoon Kabul air. Members of the RSO Office greeted us outside the terminal to take us to the U.S. Embassy. The cordial and very professional RSO team assisted us into the vehicles.  The drive to the embassy takes us nearly 20 minutes as we carefully made our way through the heavy Kabul traffic. 

Upon arrival at the embassy, we are met immediately by Assistant Regional Security Officer Dax Landry who helps us navigate the embassy’s robust security screening. After we receive our visitor embassy badges, we are provided a detailed safety briefing.

Even behind the embassy’s high protective walls, it is immediately clear that we are in a different environment.  Blackhawk helicopters fly overhead and surveillance balloons quietly dot the evening skyline.  

After receiving our embassy credentials, ARSO Landry escorts us to the embassy’s living quarters where each of us is assigned individual “hooches,” a metal trailer that is approximately 8’ wide and 20’ long. The trailer interior is equipped with a bunk bed, TV, microwave, small refrigerator, and a small shower/lavatory. 

After dropping off our luggage, we proceed to dinner where we are joined by the Senior Regional Security Officer, Fred Ketchem and many of Fred’s Assistant RSOs. 

After dinner, the group is given a brief familiarization tour of the embassy compound and decides to call it night as the team has a full day of meetings the next day. 

A great first day with a wonderful and dedicated group of people.