On April 8, knoxnews.com reported that two casualties from the April 6, 2012 attack in Zabul, Afghanistan came from East Tennessee. The news site sourcing family members confirmed the identities of Army Staff Sgt. Christopher M. Ward of Oak Ridge who was killed during the attack and Kelly Hunt, a 33-year-old public diplomacy officer assigned in Kandahar for the State Department, who was wounded in the same incident. (see photos via knoxnews.com)
On April 9, knoxnews.com noting that details of the attack are still vague, reported that Ms. Hunt who worked previously as a News Sentinel staffer headed into “surgery again” citing information from family members. She reportedly is in a medically induced coma at a military hospital in Germany. This is probably the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.
According to her LinkedIn Account, Ms. Hunt joined the State Department last year and has been the public diplomacy officer in Kandahar since July 2012.
“As a public diplomacy officer for the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan, I serve as the RC-South Ambassador’s PD officer and the civilian PD liason for military command. Help design key leader engagements for the Senior Civilian Representative – the Ambassador for RC-S; report daily to the U.S. Embassy in Kabul during crisis communication events; write talking points, speeches and readouts for KLE interactions, roundtables with Afghan journalists and interviews with international media; highlight and plan media events to disseminate Afghan news to the international community; serve as the military’s counterpart for a variety of topics; and act as a PD grants officer representative for various RC-S PD grants, proposing grants that will have an enduring and stabilizing impact on the region for years to come while ensuring the grantees stay on budget and on task.”
News reports so far indicate that four other State Department staffers, including Ms. Hunt, were injured in the bombing, one critically.
We should note that Ms. Smedinghoff who was killed in the same attack was a public diplomacy officer working as the Assistant Press Attache at U.S. Embassy Kabul since last year. It appears right now that there were five State Department personnel delivering textbooks to a school in Qalat?
We have more questions than answers right now. If anyone care to help answer some of those questions, please contact me here.
DOD has also released today the names of the troops who perished in Zabul for “wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit in Zabul, Afghanistan with a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device.” The DOD release says that they were assigned to the 5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armor Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Georgia. Those killed were: Staff Sgt. Christopher M. Ward, 24, of Oak Ridge, Tenn., Spc. Wilbel A. Robles-Santa, 25, of Juncos, Puerto Rico, and Spc. Deflin M. Santos Jr., 24, of San Jose, Calif.
Updated: Rewritten to provide only links to restricted knoxnews material.
- Tom and Mary Beth Smedinghoff’s Statement on Daughter Anne Killed in Afghanistan (diplopundit.net)
- RIP Anne Smedinghoff: Older men declare war. But it is youth that must fight and die. (diplopundit.net)
- Details still vague in Afghan attack that killed one, wounded another from East Tennessee (knoxnews.com)
- Taliban Attack Kills US Diplomat, Three NATO Troops and Civilians in Zabul, Afghanistan (diplopundit.net)
- Two with ET ties caught in Afghan suicide blast; one killed, one wounded (knoxnews.com)
- 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)