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Foreign Service Officer Died Doing What She Loved


Over the weekend in Afghanistan, a suicide bomber took the life of five Americans. They were on a mission to deliver books to an Afghan school. They were military personnel, a Defense Department civilian, and the first State Department Foreign Service officer to be killed in Afghanistan.

She was 25-year-old Anne Smedinghoff. NPR's Sean Carberry, in Kabul, sent this remembrance.

SEAN CARBERRY, BYLINE: Anne grew up in River Forest, Illinois. It's the kind of well-groomed Chicago suburb you'd see in a John Hughes movie. If there had been a character modeled on her in "The Breakfast Club," it would have been a smart, caring, well-dressed and adventurous young woman, eager to go serve.

After graduating from Johns Hopkins, she joined the Foreign Service and was posted in Venezuela. After that, she volunteered for Kabul and joined the public affairs office here last summer. She immediately made an impression with colleagues and the sometimes-cynical press corps. Co-workers say she was committed to improving the lives of Afghan women and children. Because of her drive, the Afghan national women's soccer team is on its way to getting its own, new stadium.

The 25-year-old was assigned to assist Secretary of State Kerry during his recent visit to Kabul. He was moved to tears when remembering her over the weekend. Anne's family, friends and colleagues say they take comfort knowing she died doing what she loved.

Sean Carberry, NPR News, Kabul.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Sean Carberry is NPR's international correspondent based in Kabul. His work can be heard on all of NPR's award-winning programs, including Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition.
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