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Ambassador P. Michael McKinley
Term of Appointment: 12/2014 to present
Ambassador P. Michael McKinley was nominated as the next U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan on August 28, 2014, and confirmed by the Senate on December 9, 2014. He was U.S. Deputy Ambassador to Afghanistan from September 28, 2013 to December 2014. Before that, he served as U.S. Ambassador to Colombia from August, 2010 – August, 2013 and U.S. Ambassador to Peru from 2007-2010.
Ambassador McKinley was Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Mission to the European Union in Brussels between 2004 and 2007. From 2001-2004, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. Between 1994 and 2001, Ambassador McKinley was Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé d' Affaires at U.S. Embassies in Mozambique, Uganda, and Belgium. Earlier assignments include U.S. Embassy London (1990-94), three tours in Washington (1985-90), and Bolivia (1983-85). Ambassador McKinley joined the Foreign Service in 1982.
Ambassador McKinley was born in Venezuela and grew up in Brazil, Mexico, Spain, and the United States. He did his undergraduate and graduate studies in the United Kingdom, and has a doctorate from Oxford University. His history of colonial Venezuela was published by Cambridge University Press as part of its Latin America series, and has also appeared in a Spanish edition. Ambassador McKinley is married to the former Fatima Salces. They have three children.
Visit the website of the Embassy of the United States in Kabul, Afghanistan
USAID Mission Director Herbert Smith
Term of Appointment: 9/2015 to present
On September 3, 2015, Herbert Smith was sworn in as Mission Director to Afghanistan.
Mr. Smith most recently served as USAID’s Mission Director in Yemen and as Acting Mission Director in USAID/Haiti.
Mr. Smith has been with USAID since 1979 serving in both Washington in the Office of Food for Peace (USAID/FFP) and in numerous overseas posts including Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Indonesia and Lebanon. From 2007-2008, Mr. Smith served as the Deputy Team Leader of the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Fallujah for USAID/Iraq and from 2008-2010, he was the Director of USAID/Afghanistan's Office of Provincial Reconstruction Teams, where he was responsible for 150 American Officers working on Provincial Reconstruction Teams throughout the country.
Mr. Smith has an M.A. in international affairs from American University, and a B.A. in political science from the University of Delaware. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal from 1976 to 1978. He is married to Sarah, and father to Christian and Andrew. Mr. Smith is a native of Delaware and has a permanent home there in Ocean View.
USAID Deputy Mission Director Arthur Brown
Term of Appointment: 6/2015 to present
Mr. Arthur Brown is a Senior Foreign Service Officer with the rank of Counselor for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). He has worked for the federal government for more than 20 years. He was assigned as the USAID Deputy Mission Director to Kabul, Afghanistan in June 2015. Prior to that, Mr. Brown served as the USAID/Nicaragua Mission Director from July 2012 to April 2015 where he was responsible for leading, directing, and managing economic growth, democracy and governance, health, environmental, and education programs.
USAID Deputy Mission Director Tamra Halmrast-Sanchez
Term of Appointment: 09/2015 to present
Ms. Halmrast-Sanchez has over 30 year experience in international development and humanitarian assistance. Currently she serves as the Deputy Mission Director for US Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Mission in Afghanistan.
Prior to joining USAID/Afghanistan, Ms. Halmrast-Sanchez served in USAID/Yemen as the Technical Officer Director (2013-2015) managing a diverse portfolio supporting Yemen’s National Dialogue and transitional government. From 2011-2013 she served as the Director for USAID’s Office of American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA) managing over 200 awards worldwide. She spent three years in Iraq for USAID. From 2008-2009 she was a member of a United States Government’s Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) as the Senior Development Advisor embedded with the U.S. Brigade Combat Team, serving Baghdad. She was then appointed USAID’s Office Director for PRTs, traveling extensively throughout the country working with USAID Representatives, Iraqi partners and stakeholders in building Iraqi’s local capacity.
Over the course of her career with USAID, Ms. Halmrast-Sanchez has worked throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. She spent 13 years in USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) managing the U.S. Government’s response to approximately 75 disasters and complex emergencies globally each year and provided humanitarian assistance to hundreds of thousands people affected by these devastating events. She served as the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) leader in response to Hurricane Mitch in Honduras (1998), civil strife in Kosovo (1999), famine in Ethiopia (2000), and the earthquake in Bam, Iran (2004). Ms. Halmrast-Sanchez also served as USAID’s Director for Operations for the responses to the 2005 earthquake Pakistan and the 2007 conflict in Lebanon.
Other career highlights include her leadership in creating and implementing the management system used by USAID for responding to disasters and complex emergencies worldwide. Her work was instrumental to the creation of the African Center for Constructive Resolutions of Disputes (ACCORD), a South African-based civil society organization working throughout Africa to bring African solutions to the challenges posed by conflict on the continent.
Ms. Halmrast-Sanchez started her career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala (1984-1986). She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Valley City State College in 1983, and a Master’s degree from the National Defense University’s Industrial College of the Armed Forces in 2005. She has received numerous awards for her service with USAID.
USAID Deputy Mission Director John Cardenas
Term of Appointment: 10/2015 to present
Mr. John Cardenas is the USAID/Afghanistan Deputy Mission Director with responsibility for managing the Mission's $1.2 billion Infrastructure portfolio as well as the offices of Agriculture, Economic Growth, and Acquisition and Assistance. He is the chair of the Mission's counter-terrorism vetting program, the water working group, and the Almaty Consensus working group. He previously served as the Resident Legal Officer in Afghanistan (2014), Peru (2009-2014) and Egypt (2005-2009). With 13 years of USAID experience, he has received several Agency awards for bilateral negotiations involving privileges and immunities issues in Egypt and Bolivia, and was a leader in piloting procurement reform activities across USAID missions in South America. Prior to joining USAID, he was a transactional lawyer at O'Melveny and Myers in Los Angeles. He holds a U.S. national high school swim record; an A.B., magna cum laude, from Princeton University; and M.A. (Political Science) and J.D. degrees from Stanford University. His three young children are fourth generation California natives.
Last updated: February 10, 2016