River Forest resident Anne Smedinghoff, 25, was one of five Americans killed Saturday during a car bombing in Afghanistan, according to the U.S. State Department.
Secretary of State John Kerry released the following statement about the attack:
"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.
Kerry called the Smedinghoff family Saturday morning to let them know what happened, and he offered his condolences.
"She was doing what she loved and she was doing great things," her father, Tom Smedinghoff, said in an interview with The Chicago Tribune. "We're just in total shock."
Smedinghoff was killed along with three U.S. soldiers and a civilian employee of the defense department, according to Kerry's statement.
In the Tribune, Tom Smedinghoff said his daughter volunteered to go to Afghanistan, where she had been since July 2012. She was working in the public diplomacy department for the local population, helping women and working with schools and local businesses.
The family also issued the following statement:
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.
—Tom and Mary Beth Smedinghoff