A young U.S. diplomat killed in an attack in southern Afghanistan was an up-and-comer in the State Department and loved working directly with residents of the country, those who knew her said Sunday.
Anne Smedinghoff, a 25-year-old foreign service officer, died Saturday when the group she was traveling with was struck by an explosion in southern Zabul province. They were en route to traveling to donate textbooks to students.
The Chicago-area woman is the first American diplomat to die on the job since last year’s attack on the U.S. diplomatic installation in Benghazi, Libya.
“Part of the initial confusion came about because there were reports in the media about the local governor and his convoy,” Mr. Ventrell said of the changing State Department account of the attack. “Some of our initial reporting also indicated that, and that’s why we weren’t able to clarify right away. So our initial read on it was different.”
Questions about the incident are likely to multiply in coming days, as more details about the attack are revealed. A witness reported Thursday that the provincial reconstruction team was lost, which is why the personnel were caught in the blast.