- By Josh Rogin
A State Department foreign-service officer was among the six Americans killed Saturday in Afghanistan by a suicide bomber who drove a car laden with explosives into a military convoy.
"Our State Department family is grieving over the loss of one of our own, an exceptional young Foreign Service Officer, killed today in an IED attack in Zabul province, along with service members, a Department of Defense civilian, and Afghan civilians," Secretary of State John Kerry said in a Saturday statement.
Four other State Department personnel were injured, one critically, Kerry said. The officials along with a group of Afghans were on their way to donate books to a school in the provincial capital of Qalat when the attack occurred.
The State Department did not release the name of the foreign service officer killed but said that she had met Kerry during Kerry’s trip to Kabul only last week.
"She was everything a Foreign Service Officer should be: smart, capable, eager to serve, and deeply committed to our country and the difference she was making for the Afghan people," Kerry said. She tragically gave her young life working to give young Afghans the opportunity to have a better future."
Three U.S. military personnel were killed in the attack, along with two U.S. civilians and one Afghan doctor. Another U.S. civilian was killed in a separate attack in eastern Afghanistan Saturday, the AP reported. A Taliban spokesman claimed credit for the attack in an interview with the AP.
Kerry has been in touch with the White House, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns, Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy, and U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham, his statement said. Kerry also spoke with the deceased foreign service officer’s parents.
"We know too well the risks in the world today for all of our State Department personnel at home and around the world – Foreign Service, Civil Service, political appointees, locally employed staff and so many others," Kerry said. "Every day, we honor their courage and are grateful for their sacrifices, and today we do so with great sadness."
UPDATE: Speaking in Turkey Sunday, Kerry identified the foreign service officer as 25 year old Anne Smedinghoff.
Gordon Lubold is a national security reporter for Foreign Policy. He is also the author of FP's Situation Report, an e-mailed newsletter that is blasted out to more than 70,000 national security and foreign affairs subscribers each morning that includes the top nat-sec news, breaking news, tidbits, nuggets and what he likes to call "candy." Before arriving at FP, he was a senior advisor at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, where he wrote on national security and foreign policy. Prior to his arrival at USIP, he was a defense reporter for Politico, where he launched the popular Morning Defense early morning blog and tip-sheet. Prior to that, he was the Pentagon and national security correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, and before that he was the Pentagon correspondent for the Army Times chain of newspapers. He has covered conflict in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries in South Asia, and has reported on military matters in sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia and Latin America as well as at American military bases across the country. He has spoken frequently on the sometimes-contentious relationship between the military and the media as a guest on numerous panels. He also appears on radio and television, including on CNN, public radio's Diane Rehm and To the Point, and C-SPAN's Washington Journal. He lives in Alexandria with his wife and two children.| Investigation |