Botched Attack Kills State Department Employee in Afghanistan

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An assassination attempt in Afghanistan on Sunday resulted in the first death of a State Department employee since the war there began. Anne Smedinghoff, a 25-year-old State Department official, was killed when a Taliban bomb targeting Zabul province Governor Ashraf Nasari went off as the State Department's transportation convoy intersected with his at the worst possible time. The State Department said three U.S. service members and a Defense Department employee were also killed in the attack. Nasari escaped without injury, but an Afghan doctor and members of his security team were killed. It was the deadliest day for Americans in Afghanistan since last August.

Secretary of State John Kerry was on a trip speaking in Istanbul when he heard about the attack. "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. Kerry was very recently acquainted with Smedinghoff. She worked as his guide, or "control officer," during his recent surprise trip to Afghanistan, which is a pretty big deal for young employees. "She tragically gave her young life working to give young Afghans the opportunity to have a better future," he said.

The attack came right at the beginning of the spring season that usually brings an increase in violence in the country. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chariman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, also just arrived in Afghanistan to further deliberate how the U.S. plans to withdraw the remaining troops in the country. There's some debate as to whether or not the U.S. is leaving Afghanistan in worse shape than when it arrived. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.