The Washington Post

Embassy Kabul’s July 4th party is already over

(Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

Then perhaps you should follow the example of the U.S. embassy in Kabul, which celebrated the 237th Independence Day on June 26, exactly a week before the actual day of the signing of the Declaration.

No press were invited — in fact, any press there that day were escorted out before the assorted dignitaries and other invitees were due to arrive. (The embassy issued a brief news release about the ceremony after it ended.)

Could be something of a trend here. Loop Fans may recall that the embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia celebrated the Fourth — which it calls “National Day” — in early March.

The reason for that, we understood, is because Riyadh is perhaps the hottest capital in the world, with daytime temps in July averaging 110 degrees and the record high close to 120 degrees.The highs in March average 30 degrees cooler.

But that can’t be the reason in Kabul, where July’s average high temps, in the low 90s, aren’t much different than temperatures here. And celebrating a week early can’t make much difference.

We’re checking with the embassy, but it could be that Ambassador James B. Cunningham or some key invitees had scheduling conflicts or some other relatively mundane reason for the early celebration. Maybe they were so excited about the holiday they just couldn’t wait?

Or maybe there was concern that evil-doers might decide to commemorate with fireworks of their own?

Meanwhile, we’ve gotten word that the military there has decided to ban Afghan employees from the sprawling Bagram Air Base outside Kabul on the Fourth.

The idea apparently was to guard against someone bringing certain fireworks onto the base.

But the Afghan employees run the mess hall. So it’s going to be MRE’s (meals ready- to- eat) for the Fourth?

(This post has been updated.)

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.


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