In interviews and written communications with the Washington-based independent non-profit organization Project On Government Oversight (POGO), current and former security agents at the site have said an array of shortfalls, ranging from insufficient weapons training to an overextended guard force, have compromised security there.
“If we ever got seriously hit, there is no doubt in my mind the guard force here would not be able to handle it, and mass casualties and mayhem would ensue," an unnamed guard serving at the US Embassy in Kabul wrote in a late November message to POGO.
In July, discontent simmered and came to a head when more than 40 members of the embassy's Emergency Response Team signed a petition and warned against the mission’s security, which is provided under a half-a-billion-dollar contract with Aegis Defense Services LLC.
The petition, presented to the US State Department and Aegis, stated a "vote of no confidence" in three of the guard force leaders, accusing them of "tactical incompetence" and "a dangerous lack of understanding of the operational environment."
Two guards say they were immediately fired after organizing the petition, in what they called a "retaliatory act."
A State Department document obtained by the POGO terms a "mutiny" among guards who defend the American Embassy in Afghanistan, though the document does not openly point it out.
In September 2011, 11 Afghan civilians, more than half of them children, and five Afghan police officers were killed after militants attacked the US Embassy and NATO headquarters in the heart of Kabul.
Eleven militants also died in the battle between Taliban and security forces. Seven militants were killed in the clearing operation inside the half-built building, where the assailants had been hiding near the US Embassy. Four other attackers served as bombers.
The US Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker blamed the Haqqani network for the attacks against the American Embassy and NATO headquarters in Kabul.
The Haqqani network is a Pakistan-based group that is closely allied with the Taliban.