According to McClatchy, three NATO troops and two coalition civilians were killed Saturday in southern Afghanistan in a suicide bombing that also killed two Afghans and narrowly missed killing the governor of the province. The attack reportedly came at about 11 a.m. in the Zabul provincial capital, Qalat, as a convoy carrying Gov. Mohammad Ashraf Nasery was passing the base of the local NATO provincial reconstruction team.
Provincial Reconstruction Team Zabul vehicle crews maintain security while PRT engineers conduct a site survey of the on-going street drainage project in Qalat, Afghanistan, April 14. The PRT is comprised of Air Force, Army, Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development and U.S. Department of Agriculture personnel who work with the government of Afghanistan to improve governance, stability and development throughout the province. (Photo via ISAF/Flickr)
Both ISAF and the State Department cites the attack as an improvised explosive device (IED) attack. Some reports described it as a suicide attack.
The casualties are typically not named pending notification of their next of kin. We don’t know why the deceased diplomat is not named in this statement when Secretary Kerry had already spoken to her parents.
Our State Department family is grieving over the loss of one of our own, an exceptional young Foreign Service officer, killed today in an IED attack in Zabul province, along with service members, a Department of Defense civilian, and Afghan civilians. Four other State Department colleagues suffered injuries, one critically.
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.
We also honor the U.S. troops and Department of Defense civilian who lost their lives, and the Afghan civilians who were killed today as they worked to improve the nation they love.
I spoke this morning with our fallen Foreign Service officer’s mother and father and offered what little comfort I can for their immeasurable loss. As a father of two daughters, I can’t imagine what her family is feeling today, or her friends and colleagues.
I also have been in close touch with Secretary Hagel, the White House, and our senior management team at the State Department, including Deputy Secretary Burns, Undersecretary Kennedy, and Ambassador Cunningham in Kabul. We will all keep in close contact as we learn more facts about this attack and the brave people who were killed and wounded. We are also in contact with the families of those injured.
We know too well the risks in the world today for all of our State Department personnel at home and around the world – Foreign Service, civil service, political appointees, locally employed staff, and so many others. I wish everyone in our country could see first-hand the devotion, loyalty, and amazingly hard and hazardous work our diplomats do on the front lines in the world’s most dangerous places. Every day, we honor their courage and are grateful for their sacrifices, and today we do so with great sadness.
With thoughts and prayers to loved ones left behind and the wounded. We will update this post when additional information becomes available.