THE UNITED STATES’ new ambassador to Afghanistan is meeting with some unusual diplomatic problems in his first days on the job – over the unlikeliest of issues.
The Washington Post reports that a self-formed ‘cat committee’ is opposing plans to exterminate between 25 and 30 rabid, feral cats which have made the embassy in Kabul their home – causing some internal conflict among Ryan Crocker’s already tightly-wound staff.
Staff in the embassy already work under tense conditions – walled off from the rest of the city, under constant heavy security. As Joshua Partlow writes, even the name of the embassy’s bar points to the fraught atmosphere: it is called the Duck and Cover.
As a result, some see the cats as a nice, homely touch – including the so-called “cat committee”, which one diplomat noted was “full of cat ladies” – but others want rid of the felines, which have a history of attacking staff who approach them too closely.
Proposals allowing the staff to ‘adopt’ some cats, or have them brought back to the US for repatriation, also hit a stone wall – when it emerged that while the cats were a health nuisance, they were also helping to keep out poisonous vermin.