An “Idealisitc” U.S. diplomat was killed this weekend in Afghanistan. John Kerry issued a statement mourning the death of Anne Smedinghoff, 25, and the five other people who were killed by militants on Saturday.
Kerry met the young Chicago woman a few weeks ago when he was visiting Afghanistan. The U.S. Secretary of State said that he remembered the “selfless, idealistic” young diplomat who was working to donate books to students in the area.
Kerry said: “Anne and those with her were attacked by the Taliban terrorists who woke up that day not with a mission to educate or to help, but with a mission to destroy. A brave American was determined to brighten the light of learning through books, written in the native tongue of the students she had never met, whom she felt it incumbent to help.”
Smedinghoff, who grew up in River Forest, a suburb just outside of Chicago, was killed by a suicide bomber in the center of Qalat in the Kabul province of Southern Afghanistan. An Afghan doctor, three soldiers, and another US civilian were also killed in the attack. According to News Day, Saturday was the deadliest day for the United States in the war in the last 8 months.
Kerry described Smedinghoff, saying: She was vivacious, smart, capable, chosen often by the ambassador there to be the lead person because of her capacity… There are no words for anyone to describe the extraordinary harsh contradiction for a young 25-year-old woman, with all of her future ahead of her, believing in the possibilities of diplomacy to improve people’s lives, making a difference, having an impact.”
Kerry added that the United States could honor Anne’s legacy by continuing to work for peace. The Secretary of State added: “It is now up to us to determine what the legacy of this tragedy will be. Where others seek to destroy, we intend to show a stronger determination in order to brighten our shared future, even when others try to darken it with violence. That was Anne’s mission.”
The young “idealistic” U.S. diplomat was also publicly mourned by her parents. Tom and Mary Beth Smedinghoff wrote in a statement to the Chicago Suntimes:
“The world lost a truly beautiful soul today. Our daughter, Anne, a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, died in the service of her country as she was traveling with a group to deliver books to a local school in the Zabul Province of Afghanistan. She joined the Foreign Service three years ago right out of college and there was no better place for her. Anne absolutely loved the work she was doing. Her first assignment was in Caracas, Venezuela. She then volunteered for an assignment at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, which she began in July, 2012. Working as a public diplomacy officer, 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. We are consoled knowing that she was doing what she loved, and that she was serving her country by helping to make a positive difference in the world. She was such a wonderful woman–strong, intelligent, independent, and loving. Annie, you left us too soon; we love you and we’re going to miss you so much.”