2003 Safety, Security and International Affairs

Kimber Davidson and the Team

Led a team of special agents responsible for protecting the safety of Afghanistan’s new president under hazardous conditions.

Peace and stability in Afghanistan is still uncertain. Taliban and Al Qaeda terrorists continue to try to destabilize the new government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Kimber Davidson and a team of five agents from the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security work every day under difficult conditions to make sure they fail.

Since November 2002, the Karzai Protective Detail developed a protective program unlike any similar program attempted: protecting the safety of a foreign leader in a country in the midst of war. The stakes couldn’t be higher. The continued democratization of Afghanistan under the guidance of a strong central government is vital to winning the war on terror—and protecting the safety of President Karzai is critical to that effort.

That task fell to the Bureau of Diplomatic Security in July 2002. Six special agent volunteers were selected to replace President Karzai’s protective detail of Afghan soldiers more loyal to their tribal factions than their new president. President Karzai is now afforded a high level of personal security—similar to that protecting President Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell.

The six agents’ names are John Bray, Kim O’Connor, Eric Stocky, Steve Click, Gary Stoner, and Kimber Davidson—and they voluntarily left their families and homes to each day face danger while living in challenging conditions. “They put their lives on hold to put their lives in danger,” said Maura Harty, the State Department’s assistant secretary for Consular Affairs.

The team is uniquely qualified for their hazardous mission. Each has served in the military or law enforcement in some of the most dangerous places in the world, including Colombia, Bosnia and Somalia. Five of the six served in the Mobile Security Division, the State Department’s most elite organization, which is consistently tasked with the nation’s most perilous duties.

Kimber Davidson and the Karzai Protective Detail remain on the job around-the-clock protecting the Afghan president, who continues to receive a variety of specific threats. They also manage the training of special agents of the Afghan Presidential Protective Service, who will eventually assume control of protecting their president. Over a period of time, these Americans will turn over their heavy responsibilities to this all-Afghan force. Until then, Kimber Davidson and his team of special agents will continue to put safety first—the safety of President Karzai and the safety of a new democracy.