Via Jay Price and Rezwan Natiq, McClatchy Newspapers, Posted on Wednesday, 04.10.1
Ahmad Zia Abed, a reporter for Shamshad TV, said he and a videographer from his station were among about a dozen people, including the officer, Anne Smedinghoff, 25, whom American soldiers were escorting on the 200-yard walk from the local headquarters of the U.S.-led Provincial Reconstruction Team to what they thought was the school. A man at the gate said they had the wrong place, though, that this was the provincial agriculture institute.
The group retraced its steps to the American base to figure out what to do next, Abed said. The entrance to the base is just a few feet from the street, he said, and just as they reached it, walking more or less in single file, something slammed into his back and he staggered forward.
Abed’s account of the bombing, the most detailed to surface since the explosion, raises new questions about the circumstances that led to the deadliest combat incident in Afghanistan for Americans this year and contradicts what relatives of the victims have said they were told – that Smedinghoff and her military escorts had been in an armored vehicle when it was rammed by a suicide vehicle. Smedinghoff was the first American diplomat to die in Afghanistan during more than 11 years of warfare here.
The FBI has opened an investigation into the attack, said a U.S. government official who declined to be identified because of that investigation. He confirmed Wednesday night that the party had been on foot, and said earlier reports that they were in a vehicle convoy were inaccurate.
Smedinghoff’s father told journalists in the United States that he’d been told she was in a vehicle and the bomber either rammed it or detonated his explosives nearby. But Abed said she’d been his media escort all the way from Kabul to Qalat, the capital of Zabul province, and that he was certain she was on foot.
Read in full here.
- Tom and Mary Beth Smedinghoff’s Statement on Daughter Anne Killed in Afghanistan (diplopundit.net)
- Witness: Anne Smedinghoff, other Americans killed in Afghan bombing were on foot, lost (mcclatchydc.com)
- RIP Anne Smedinghoff: Older men declare war. But it is youth that must fight and die. (diplopundit.net)
- Taliban Attack Kills US Diplomat, Three NATO Troops and Civilians in Zabul, Afghanistan (diplopundit.net)
- Death of an FSO, and the Tragedy in Zabul (republicofsnarkistan.net)
- The Death Of A Young Diplomat Is Only Half The Tragedy In Zabul (businessinsider.com)
- US diplomat killed in Afghanistan wanted to help (miamiherald.com)
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If State learned anything from Benghazi it should have been if you don’t know don’t announce it until you do.
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The first sitrep (situation report) is _always_ wrong.
This doesn’t mean, necessarily, that anyone’s lying; it means the fog of war can obscure even the plainest of details, especially at many thousands of miles distance.
Thanks for saying something wise.
If by “can it get any worse” do you mean “are there unscrupulous people in Washington who are going to try to turn this into the next pseudo-scandal a la Benghazi”… the answer is yes.
If I’ve learned nothing else in life, it’s that if you ask that question, the answer is always “Yes, yes it can get worse.” Grab a drink and buckle up…