Deadly Attack in Zabul Province, Afghanistan

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
April 6, 2013
Outskirts of Kabul

On April 6, 2013, Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement about the attack in Zabul Province, Afghanistan. The Secretary said:

"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. Four other State Department colleagues suffered injuries, one critically.

"Our American officials and their Afghan colleagues were on their way to donate books to students in a school in Qalat, the province's capital, when they were struck by this despicable attack.

"Just last week in Kabul, I met our fallen officer when she was selected to support me during my visit to Afghanistan. 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. She tragically gave her young life working to give young Afghans the opportunity to have a better future.

"We also honor the U.S. troops and Department of Defense civilian who lost their lives, and the Afghan civilians who were killed today as they worked to improve the nation they love.

"I spoke this morning with our fallen Foreign Service Officer's mother and father and offered what little comfort I can for their immeasurable loss. As a father of two daughters, I can't imagine what her family is feeling today, or her friends and colleagues.

"I also have been in close touch with Secretary Hagel, the White House, and our senior management team at the State Department, including Deputy Secretary Burns, Undersecretary Kennedy, and Ambassador Cunningham in Kabul. We will all keep in close contact as we learn more facts about this attack and the brave people who were killed and wounded. We are also in contact with the families of those injured.

"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. I wish everyone in our country could see first-hand the devotion, loyalty and amazingly hard and hazardous work our diplomats do on the front lines in the world's most dangerous places. Every day, we honor their courage and are grateful for their sacrifices, and today we do so with great sadness."Update: While in Istanbul on April 7, 2013, Secretary of State John Kerry reflected on the life of Anne Smedinghoff, the Foreign Service Officer killed by the attack in Zabul Province, Afghanistan.

Comments

Comments

Katrina d.
|
April 6, 2013

Katrina D. writes:

I am sorry

RIP

Erin
|
April 6, 2013

Erin writes:

My thoughts and prayers go out to those involved and their loved ones. Knowing first hand what they are going thru (my brother Stephen was a DSS officer and killed in action in 2005), my heart breaks for them. God Bless them all and all the people working over seas and at home to keep us safe.

Brianna
|
Oregon, USA
April 6, 2013

Brianna in Oregon writes:

God bless these people of service, the ones who have fallen, their families and the injured, and those that continue to tend toward the need that still continues in Afghanistan. We grieve with you.

Glenye
|
Kentucky, USA
May 4, 2013

Glenye in Kentucky writes:

Can anyone confirm whether Gavin S. is still working in Kabul? We knew each other back in North Carolina and I was hoping to get in touch with him. Hoping now that he is all right; terribly saddened to hear news of the death and injuries in Kabul today.

DonaldM
|
Virginia, USA
April 7, 2013

Donald M. in Virginia writes:

A senseless war that continues to bring in casualites and a war that will never be won. They have tried for thousands of years and it hasn't worked what makes United States think it can make it work? Russians failed in the 70s. We continue spending Tax Dollars for Afghanistan all for what? Time has come to end this war and bring home our troops to protect our country not arab countries. Bring our troops and people home! Before we continue having more casulties for a war that cannot be won.

Bethany W.
|
United Arab Emirates
April 7, 2013

Bethany W. in the United Arab Emirates writes:

It was just terrible to learn of this story on the news this morning. My deepest sympathies to the families. I can only hope that those books meant for the children will somehow still manage to find the way there. Only education can best help turn this region of the world around and allow its citizens to look towards a brighter future. I am so grateful to see the USA doing its part. How proud their families must be to know what a service they were giving the world.

Bethany W.,
An American in Dubai

dawodu a.
|
Ukraine
April 7, 2013

Dawodu A. in the Ukraine writes:

May God console their families

ADAM
|
Poland
April 7, 2013

Adam in Poland writes:

RIP

Isaac J.
|
Malawi
April 7, 2013

Isaac in Malawi writes:

As a youth development worker, it pains me when young people with mature leadership skills depart so early. She died trying to serve fellow young people to develop into educated and responsible citizens. May God remember her works and her family.

God bless America.

May God bring sustainable peace on earth.

R.I.P.

Robert C.
|
Maryland, USA
April 7, 2013

Robert C. in Maryland writes:

Mr. & Mrs. Smedinghoff .. As a retired Department of State employee I was deeply saddened to learn of your daughters death. Please accept my heartfelt condolences. The world has lost a beautiful person who is gone in body, but whose memory will linger on forever!

Patricia K.
|
New Mexico, USA
April 7, 2013

Patricia K. in New Mexico writes:

I would like to know why State did not release the officer's name in this announcement - I thought this was SOP after next of kin were notified. We should not have had to learn it from a former USIS colleague who found it via a local TV station in Chicago.

Laude C.
|
Virginia, USA
April 7, 2013

Laude C. in Virginia writes:

She was one of my best Spanish Students. My deepest condolence to her parents: Anna te voy a extranar, siento mucho saber que te han segado la vida tan joven. Hoy solo queda tu recuerdo, tus historias y otras conversaciones amenas que hemos tenido. Que Dios te tenga en su Gloria!!!

Athena
|
United States
April 7, 2013

Athena in the U.S.A. writes:

Please , when will we bring our people home ?!

DonaldM
|
Virginia, USA
April 8, 2013

Donald M. in Virginia writes:

628 BILLION & GROWING cost for Afghanistan along with our casualties. I say again, is it worth it? Maybe someone can explain why we have paid this much tax dollars for a piece of nothing in the middle east. We don't own Afghanistan, we certainly do not place our flag on this country, yet our tax dollars are paying for this land. In the bible it mentioned a phrase, there is a time for everything, now is the time to end this situation before it destroys our own National Deficit in costs. The country of Afghanistan needs to stand on their own two feet. Then maybe if were not leaving, they pay the United States Government back the 628 billion it cost for secuirty. Didn't they have a copper mine in Afghanistan? They should have to repay the balance of what it cost Americans. Where was it written the United States provides free secuirty for countries?

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
April 8, 2013

Eric in New Mexico writes:

In offering my deepest condolences to the families of those who gave their lives and hopes of full recovery to the injured, I believe it to be appropriate to give thanks for their service.

Lots of brave and dedicated folks from many nations are involved in restoring the hopes and dreams for peace, in a nation that has known only conflict over two generations.

Now is not the time to politicize the price of freedom, or question the merit of their work and sacrifice on behalf of future generations.

For it is in the eyes of the children where hope resides for a better future, in a nation come full circle living in peace.

It's part of who we are and what we do as a free nation not just in service to others, but to constantly remind us who we are as Americans.

So to those who have expressed doubt and disatisfaction on these pages, you'all might want to reflect on this a bit.

EJ

DonaldM
|
Virginia, USA
April 9, 2013

Donald M. in Virginia writes:

@ Eric in New Mexico

There is no question that sadness goes through the halls of American homes when they lose a loved one. You would think that after 628 billion enough is enough. We as a Nation are sinking like the Titanic ship, 17 trillion and growing, long as these wars continue. Afghanistan and Iraq are both costing our country even today in tax dollars and in lives. My vote stands, we need to finish this job and leave. We have far too many other concerns to deal with like North Korea and other countries. Afhanistan is slowly bringing United States down. We need our forces back in the States to protect our borders. Look at the National Deficit ticker and you will see how much we are spending on these wars today. We are not in a position to continue giving free secuirty to Arabs when we should be providing secuirty for our own country first.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
April 10, 2013

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Donald M.,

We're in agreement on one thing; that we're going to get the job done.

Whatever American presence in Afghanistan will remain after 2014 has alreadsy been established with the signing of the bilateral security agreement between our two nations, and I suspect folks in the State Dept would say we'll certainly maintain a diplomatic(embassy),and developmental(USAID) presence for many decades into Afghan's future.

On things we disagre on, I'll start with a simple premis that it has cost far more in lives and treasure to have to go back and get the job done right, than it would have cost to have helped Afghans rebuild their nation after the Soviets were driven out, rather than let folks sleep in the rubble and see taliban and terrorists work their ills on their nation and our's.

Since you complain about the cost of conflict, the same can be found true in not having removed Saddam Hussein from power in 91, rather than leaving him in power.

Hard lessons of history these...

Just as hard if not harder than letting fat cats on Wall St. get away with the fiscal murder of our economy to the tune of a $700 billion bank bailout, half of which (TARP)was then rolled over into the $787 bil. economic stim. package to keep the good ship America afloat, steaming onward through the fog.

So I would have to say that the pesky $17 tril. national debt is not because of the price of war alone, but in actuality is due to fiscal mismanagement and a failure of strategic imagination over a long period of time and a number of administrations, and obviously takes more time to get things right the second go around.

As I said; "Now is not the time to politicize the price of freedom, or question the merit of their work and sacrifice on behalf of future generations."

But since you seem bound and determined to go there and drag me into a discussion this leads me to my second premis;

"Let there be no complaint without solution attached."

I think there's enough combat vetrans home and retired from service at this point that should a call be put out seeking more manpower to secure our boarders, I don't think there would be any problem finding folks to do it.

Rather than have a continual failure of strategic imagination thinking sanction and isolation are going to change the mindsets of Iran and North Korea's leadership and lead to a change in behavior complient with their international obligations;

Folks need to apply a little fiscal imagination towards foreign policy threats that actually makes an effective permanent solution to that pesky $17 tril. debt as well.

For a government that sponsors chants of "Death to America" can never prove its nuclear program is peaceful. Colin Powell once said, "You break it you own it.", so before the President has to take the military option off the table to prevent Iran from aquiring nuclear weapons, I've said many tiumes it would be preferable to bill the Ayatolla $33 tril. for 33 years of chanting this, and threaten to collect, lock stock and every barrel of oil they got, till it's paid in full.

And if we want China to deal with the nuclear "Frankenstien" they have created by supporting the DPRK for decades, then we send them a bill for what it's cost us to keep the peace in the region for the last 60 years right now, and remind them that they don't want to see a bill for damages in the aftermath of a war the "young-Un" starts with us, let alone loose 100% market share in America when no one will be caught dead ever buying anything "made in China" again.

Lot of talk about banning assault weapons to cohabitate in peace, but not enough talk about banning dictatorships from the face of the Earth in my opinion. Unfortunately it's not practical to ban politicians and fat cats altogether, but I think it is eminantly practical to ban political stupidity, and those who would make war with America.

Future generations will thank us if we do.

Best,

EJ

DonaldM
|
Virginia, USA
April 10, 2013

Donald M. in Virginia writes:

@ Eric in New Mexico

I always enjoyed a great debate with my friend Eric. You can always join my facebook Eric.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
April 11, 2013

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Donald M.,

Me too, as that's part and parcel to my third premis;

That our job #1 as citizens is to inspire our government to think...and occasionally each other in constructive debate.

And while I would never suggest the logic of my solutions could be considered subtle or diplomatic in nature, what I've proposed in my prior post is designed first of all to save lives in the long run, while addressing in holistic manner the challenges before us as a nation.

If you, or anyone else can find fault with the truth or logic at work in what I've offered as food for thought and the solutions themselves; Then I invite you or anyone else including the entire dept. of State and every think tank in DC to come up with solutions that offer permanent relief to these problems.

As far as I know, no one in this government has a plan that would eliminate the national debt and provide for an equal ammount in surplus by acknoledging that we have some outstanding "accounts recievable" no one yet has had the inginuity to submit a bill for.

If there is just one person in this government reading this, that can tell me why it would not be feasable, desirable, or practical to incorperate into this government's policy initiatives, then perhaps they should think seriously about the ways and means of putting this citizen's solutions into effect, sooner rather than later.

I don't say this in arrogence, but rather with the confidence in knowing I hate being right most of the time, seeing what happens when folks don't heed my logic.

Diplomacy after all is fully dependant on a nation's ability to inspire other governments to think,

Therefore it is entirely possible for one citizen to inspire the whole world to think, but that's the President's job, not mine.

But he's welcome to quote me if he wants to.

EJ

DonaldM
|
Virginia, USA
April 16, 2013

Donald in Virginia writes:

@ Eric in New Mexico

I noticed we can come up with ideas, thoughts and attempt to pass them on and it falls on deaf ears. However, if you ever want to join my facebook, your welcome to vist my facebook @Donald MacIver in Virginia. I know we had some great debates over the years.

.

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