Back Issues of PDAA Today

Back issues of PDAA Today, PDAA’s quarterly print newsletter are now online and available for download.

Three members recall their time in Afghanistan

Three Public Diplomacy practitioners recall their Afghanistan experiences in the latest issues of PDAA Today, the newsletter of the Public Diplomacy Association of America. The full contents of the newsletter are available only to paid members, but we are publishing the three recollections on our website.

Bruce K. Byers: Afghanistan 1978-79: A Fateful Year in Kabul

Adolph “Spike” Dubs

Six weeks before my family and I flew to Kabul, there was a coup d’état that ousted Afghan president Mohammad Daud Khan and saw the rise of the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan under Mohammad Taraki and Hafizullah Amin with Kremlin backing.

In Kabul I dealt with Afghan radio and TV, the Kabul New Times, and vetted American journalists seeking interviews with Afghan foreign ministry and other officials and requests for interviews with Ambassador Adolph “Spike” Dubs, newly assigned to our embassy after serving as Chargé in Moscow. Dubs was a Soviet expert, spoke Russian, and knew Kremlin politics well. His appointment to Kabul in the wake of the ouster and execution of Daud must have given Kremlin leaders pause.

Continue reading here.


Donald M. Bishop: Looking Back at the “Year of Decision” in Kabul

PAO Don Bishop in Bamiyan, at the location where the Taliban destroyed the Buddhist statues.

Before I left Washington for Kabul, Richard Holbrooke told me that 2009-10 must be the “year of decision,” so Public Diplomacy would receive $72 million for FY-10 and more than $100 million in FY-11. This money surge was staggering, but a surge of people was promised too. Within a few months, David Ensor arrived as “Uber.” He was an excellent choice.

Very junior PDO’s worked crushing hours to send more and more Afghan Fulbrighters, IVs, and other exchange program participants to the U.S. Two successive English language fellows spun up a huge program. More Lincoln Learning Centers in key cities and universities were established. Cultural heritage programs grew. ECA well supported these traditional PD programs.

Continue reading here.



Patricia McArdle: Extracting Farhad

With Farhad the day I bought a burkha in Mazar-e-Sharif’s central market.

America’s longest war is now officially over, but efforts to extract Afghans who worked for the U.S. continue. My former interpreter, Farhad, was recruited by the U.S. Army in 2003. He continued working for American and NATO forces until 2009, when he was hired by our Embassy as LLC Mazar director–a position he held until he and his family fled before the Taliban takeover in August 2021.

When the evacuations from Kabul airport began, I sought help from the State Department to get Farhad and his family out of Afghanistan. Although my efforts failed, this story has a happy ending.

Continue reading here.


To join the Public Diplomacy Association of America, click here.


Please share ...
Pin Share