U.S. Diplomat Killed on Afghan Mission She Coveted – NYTimes.com

A tragic loss for the US Foreign Service, Anne Smedinghoff worked with another young BYU diplomat in Caracas–the first to post about this on Facebook on Saturday:

Sam Hopkins, a lawyer and a friend of Ms. Smedinghoff’s from her college days, described her as a “very focused very disciplined and very calm” woman who had breezed through a panoply of examinations to enter the Foreign Service at an unusually young age.

On her first posting to Caracas, he said, she expressed strong desire to leave the embassy compound and plunge into the city’s gritty, often dangerous streets.“She said she wanted to get a car and drive around,” Mr. Hopkins said. “She had no fear.”As a public diplomacy officer, Ms. Smedinghoff was on the front lines of an effort to move Afghanistan beyond its decades-long struggle with war and oppression to a place where women might walk openly in the streets and where children, including young girls, might go to school.

It is a job fraught with dangers and frustrations that have been compounded as the United States, along with its NATO allies, has shrunk its military footprint. Bases have been scaled back and ground and air transports reduced, meaning less security for development work.

via U.S. Diplomat Killed on Afghan Mission She Coveted – NYTimes.com.

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9 thoughts on “U.S. Diplomat Killed on Afghan Mission She Coveted – NYTimes.com

  1. kelseyclark says:

    The amount of hatred from terrorists deeply disappoints me. Smedinghoff was trying to pass out books to school children, perhaps even the terrorist’s children, and she was murdered. She was doing nothing to anger anyone except educate children.

  2. acpotts says:

    That’s a pretty sad story. That girl was very courageous to be out and about in Afghanistan like that. This is just another demonstration of the dangers that exist for those involved in the foreign services, even when it’s something as simple as delivering books.

  3. robertnishan says:

    When I see news like this I am frustrated at the apathy of governmental leaders. I feel that too much energy is being diverted from the troubles in Afghanistan. The deaths of soldiers and foreign officers is downplayed so that people will continue the idea that pulling troops out of Afghanistan is the right choice. People think that if you don’t bother others, then anyone can live in peace. The sad fact is that those that don’t take a stand will eventually give up their freedom and live a half life. Life is full of conflict, and it will not stop your entire life.

  4. i agree with robert. it really disappoints me/angers me when peoples deaths in afghanistan is downplayed. As Americans at war for more than a decade dead soldiers is too common and we are completely desensitized to it. Especially with the draw down I think that there is even more of downplaying on deaths like this one to help show that leaving is the right choice. All this says is that we haven’t accomplished what we set out to do. By leaving all it does is make the U.S lose credibility for future conflicts

  5. Taylor Shippen says:

    I think that the U.S. lost a lot of its credibility for conflicts when it intervened in Vietnam, but a generation later we seem to have forgotten this. Hazy objectives, an elusive enemy, and a difficult geographical battlefield all characterize both Vietnam and Afghanistan. Far more Americans died in that conflict compared with Afghanistan, and ultimately for what? The societal forces in the Vietnamese region were stronger than the guns and bombs we used; we should have learned this lesson prior to our invasion of Afghanistan. Far too much effort has been placed on the correct use of bombs, and not nearly enough on conflict resolution. At this point, it may be too late to reverse the damage we’ve done in Afghanistan. We are like a man who apologizes for cheating on his wife for the tenth time, while at the same time planning for a future affair. There is no reason for the Afghanis to trust us anymore, and for this reason I think we should pull out. The war for the minds of Afghanis is lost. Sending more troops and diplomats there to die will not change this. We need to spend some time apart before we attempt to reengage.

    On a brighter note, Vietnam is proof that old wounds can heal, it just takes time. Perhaps a generation from now, we may reengage in Afghanistan as well.

  6. tylersearle91 says:

    What a sad story. You can’t really downplay the violence in the Middle East. I feel like the US needs a more strategic exit- I remember reading an article that talked about how we lost leverage when we announced that we were pulling out among the Afganis. The announcment shifted the talks from being about peace to being about how long until we left. Maybe its too late to salvage something good from Afganistan, but I hope they can figure something out.

  7. I think what Tyler said is very interesting. Becoming involved in outside conflicts poses many problems, although it frequently is the right decision. I think one of the biggest problems comes with exiting. It is difficult to exit respectfully, unless the conflicts are completely over, but sometimes it is necessary to pull out. I agree that hopefully we will be able to figure out a good way to maintain leverage and fight for peace.

  8. lexilupton4 says:

    I agree with Tessa’s statement. There is no quick and easy way to withdraw from such extreme circumstances trying to be stopped in this region. I also believe that it is often hard for American’s who have never been to these regions of conflict to understand the complexities that Smedinghoff was trying to fight. We live in a society where books are easily obtainable to both male and females equally, and terrorism is not lurking around every corner.

  9. emilyjackson830 says:

    I find this story to be very disheartening. We are taught from a young age that our aim in life should be to help others and make the world a better place. It is depressing to know that this foreign service officer was doing just that and ending up having her life taken from her. I wish that we could have safety guaranteed when all we are trying to do is help others around us.

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