A suicide bomb attack in southern Afghanistan resulted in the deaths of five Americans and an Afghan doctor on Saturday. Of those killed was Anne Smedinghoff, a 25-year-old foreign service officer, who was traveling with the group through the province of Zabul when they were struck. The diplomat, who hails from Chicago, is the first American Diplomat to die on the job since last year's attack in Benghazi, Libya.
Secretary of State John Kerry said Smedinghoff, whom he recently met, was “vivacious, smart,” and “capable.”
"I think there are no words for anybody to describe the extraordinary harsh contradiction of a young 25-year-old woman with all of the future ahead of her, believing in the possibilities of diplomacy, of changing people's lives, of making a difference, having an impact, who was taking knowledge in books to deliver them to a school. And someone somehow persuaded that taking her–his life was a wiser course and somehow constructive, drives into their vehicle and we lose five lives," he added.
Smedinghoff's parents also released a statement saying that their daughter joined the Foreign Service three years ago directly after graduating college and "there was no better place for her."
"She particularly enjoyed the opportunity to work directly with the Afghan people and was always looking for opportunities to reach out and help to make a difference in the lives of those living in a country ravaged by war," they said.
They were consoled knowing she died doing what she loved — making a positive difference in the world and serving her country.
The blast came on Saturday not long after a caravan of vehicles carrying the governor of Zabul passed the same area, heading to an event at the same school. The Taliban spokesman, who claimed responsibility for the attack, said that the bomber was seeking to target either a coalition vehicle or the governor himself.
Kerry, however, held that the terrorists were only strengthening the resolve of the nation as a whole; that the diplomatic core, the military and all other resources would only be further determined to help people help themselves following this incident.
"We put ourselves in harm's way because we believe in giving hope to our brothers and sisters all over the world, knowing that we share universal human values with people all over the world," he said.