Three American troops and three civilians, including a diplomat, were killed in a suicide bombing in southern Afghanistan’s Zabul province Saturday.
The bomber detonated a car filled with explosives when a convoy carrying the Zabul province governor and his officials passed outside a hospital and a school in the Zabul capital, Qalat. A U.S. military convoy also passing by the same road at the same time was hit simultaneously in the bombing.
Zabul Governor Mohammad Ashraf Nasery survived the attack but Anne Smedinghoff, 25, from the State Department, a U.S. Defense Department employee and two service members were killed. Smedinghoff’s death marked the first time that a State Department official was killed in the Afghanistan war.
Another U.S. serviceman was killed in a separate attack. Four other State Department personnel who were traveling with Smedinghoff were wounded in the bombing.
On the side of the governor’s convoy, a local doctor was killed.
Secretary of State John Kerry spoke in Istanbul Sunday saying he was saddened by the deaths of the Americans. Kerry said Smedinghoff was assigned to help him during his visit to Afghanistan and described her as a dedicated foreign service officer who sacrificed her life to give Afghan children an opportunity for education.
The bombing came as Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, arrived in Afghanistan to study how American soldiers can quickly pull out of the country.