It’s not exactly the best time to work at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan — and not only because it’s being evacuated. In recent weeks, the Taliban has rapidly seized many parts of the country as it seeks to topple the U.S.-backed government, regain control of Afghanistan, and reimpose its strict version of Islam. Despite all this, you should know that the U.S. Embassy in Kabul is hiring.
On Friday, the embassy published a vacancy for a public engagement assistant on the site Daybook, which announced the job opening on Twitter. The posting came on the same day that staff at the embassy were told in a memo to destroy sensitive materials, such as documents and electronics, using burn bins, disintegrators, incinerators, and compacters, among others. The goal is to get rid of any items that could be “misused in propaganda efforts,” the memo stated, according to CNN.
In the job listing, the embassy dedicates just one line to the situation in the country, which is undeniably an important detail. The person who runs the Daybook Twitter account apparently thought so too, given that they copied part of the sentence.
“Job Opportunity! The U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan seeks a Public Engagement Assistant,” Daybook tweeted. “The incumbent functions in an extremely sensitive political environment in which an ongoing insurgency adds to the urgency of accurate media reporting.”
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan seeks a Public Engagement Assistant. The incumbent functions in an extremely sensitive political environment in which an ongoing insurgency adds to the urgency of accurate media reporting. https://t.co/tfm3aISgkC
— Daybook (@DaybookJobs) August 13, 2021
Daybrook’s tweet about the job opening prompted mocking on the platform, with comments ranging from “Job Postings with Threatening Auras” to “I don’t suppose this is a remote work opportunity.”
According to the listing, the public engagement assistant is responsible for advising the embassy on media trends, media climate, and dealing with the media on a variety of bilateral and multilateral issues. The assistant will also monitor print and broadcast media to understand how the U.S. is perceived and portrayed in Afghanistan and the goals of the country’s political parties. At least three years of experience in journalism or communications is required.
U.S. President Joe Biden announced in April that the U.S. would withdraw all forces from Afghanistan by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Biden’s decision marked an end to America’s longest war.
As far as the embassy’s evacuation goes, the U.S. has sent 3,000 troops to the country to help evacuate diplomats and some civilians, NPR reported. The troops will be stationed at the Kabul airport and tasked with providing security to U.S. diplomats flying out of the country. In addition, the troops will also help evacuate Afghan interpreters who have worked with the U.S. over the years.
Not all employees at the embassy will be evacuated, though. Friday’s memo stated that a small consular staff will work in Kabul. This will presumably include the public engagement assistant the embassy is hoping to hire.
In the end, the embassy was probably going to be criticised no matter when it posted the job opening. I get that there are many people who work in dangerous places throughout the world, so this isn’t exactly an outlier. However, given the situation, it seems like it would have helped to include more details on the embassy’s plan to ensure employee safety in the long-term.