Case Study

US Army Corps of Engineers
Presidential Palace Complex
Kabul, Afghanistan

Prime: Shearer & Associates, inc. (Huntsville, AL)
Sub: Integrated Security Solutions, Inc. (Kalispell, MT)

ISS worked with Shearer and associates as a sub-contractor responsible for a design to install Electronic Security System (ESS) at the Presidential Palace Complex in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan, is located in the east central Province of Kabul. The nation’s chief economic and cultural center, it has long been of strategic importance because of its proximity to the Khyber Pass, a critical trade route through the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The 83 acre site in the north-eastern part of Kabul was allocated to accomodate the construction of a majestic, fortified castle to serve as the headquarters and home of the monarchy in Afghanistan. The project, to be called Arg-e-Shahi (Citadel of the King), was borne of the wishes of Amir (King) Abdul Rahman Khan when he assumed the throne in 1880.

The castle was surrounded by ramparts equipped with large timbers and other defensive equipment. A trench was also dug around the castle, which was always filled with water. At each of the four corners of the wide wall enclosing the compound, beautiful pyramid towers with cannon battlements were built. Amir Abdul also constructed a magnificent building, today known as Salaam Khana, just beyond the eastern gate of the Arg to meet with visitors. A number of buildings were constructed within the compound, including offices for the King, residences for the King and his family, the national treasury, a large arms depot, a jail, and barracks for the army. From that time, the Arg has served as the base for the monarchy in Afghanistan, and as the Royal and Presidential Palace for all of the Kings and Presidents of Afghanistan, with the single exception of President Hafizullah Amin.


Over time, naturally, the Arg has undergone modifications and revitalization under different rulers. One of the most impressive buildings in the Arg is the Dilkoshah Palace, located on the northwestern side of the Arg and in the middle of the Arg’s rich gardens. All of the Kings of Afghanistan, from Amir Habibullah Khan onward, used this Palace as their workplace – if not their residence. The Dilokshah Palace was where foreign heads of state and other guests were received, and where many of the formal royal ceremonies were conducted. The interior of the Palace was richly decorated with carpets, artwork and materials from across Afghanistan.

The Arg presently consists of:

  • Gul Khana which serves as the offices for President Hamid Karzai and the President’s Protocol Office
  • The Offices of the President’s Chief of Staff
  • The National Security Advisor’s building
  • The Offices of the Spokesperson to the President

In addition, there are various buildings used for receiving delegations or hosting large meetings. The Afghan National Army and various Afghan security institutions also have offices within the Arg.

The Solution:
ISS served as ESS Designer under Prime Contractor Shearer and Associates. Shearer and Associates orchestrated strict coordination with the USACE for electrical engineering, security engineering, low voltage electronics engineering, communications engineering, and lighting engineering disciplines to provide the following services:

  • Prepare site investigation/design charrette, adherence to site safety requirements, conduct site investigations and reports with site description/information
  • Prepare preliminary studies, budgetary cost estimates, design preparation, design phasing, design drawings, specifications, bid schedules, review installation contractor submittal requirements
  • Prepare quantity and cost estimates, installation schedule, Design Analysis (DA), Quality Control Plan (QCP), Independent Technical Reviews (ITR), Design Documentation Reports (DDR), Engineering Considerations and Instructions (ECI) Reports, Installation Services, Installation Site Visits, and reviews of shop and working drawings
  • Using Shearer and Associates’ established cost reporting and review procedures, design quality control plan (which requires peer reviews and independent technical reviews) and operational management procedures, Project Management was able to successfully maintain cost control, adherence to quality standards, and project schedule.

In addition to the ESS system design, ISS designed custom elements for the Palace grounds. Working with Sternberg Lighting of Roselle, IL, ISS designed and manufactured a custom arm for housing exterior lamps and PTZ cameras. The design preserves the historic integrity and culture of art and features of the complex.

ISS designed a wrought iron fence to match existing fencing, which had built-in fiber optic channels. The fence was designed to install in existing gun ports on the historic stone wall surrounding the palace.

Challenges Faced:
This project was particularly challenging in that it needed to be done on a “fast track” due to the sensitivity of the political environment.
Actions Taken and the Resolution and Results of any Challenges Faced
There was coordination required between Shearer & Associates, ISS, the USACE offices in the US and Afghanistan, US State Department offices in Afghanistan, and Afghan Presidential offices.


Integrated Security Solutions, Inc.
108 Cooperative Way
Kalispell, MT 59901
Ph: (406) 755-2504
Fx: (406) 755-2506

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