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In the deadliest day in eight months for the United States in the war, militants killed six Americans in separate attacks Saturday, the violence occurring hours after the U.S. military's top officer arrived in Afghanistan for consultations with Afghan and U.S.-led coalition officials.
The last American diplomat killed on the job was Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya. Stevens and three other American died in an attack Sept. 11 in Benghazi, Libya. No one has yet been brought to justice.
Kerry, in Turkey for meetings with the country's leaders, said 25-year-old Anne Smedinghoff of Illinois had assisted him when he visited Afghanistan two weeks ago.
She served as his control officer, an honor often bestowed on up-and-coming members of the U.S. foreign service.
At a news conference with Turkey's foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, Kerry described Smedinghoff as "a selfless, idealistic woman who woke up yesterday morning and set out to bring textbooks to school children, to bring them knowledge."
"Anne and those with her," Kerry said, "were attacked by the Taliban terrorists who woke up that day not with a mission to educate or to help, but with a mission to destroy.
"A brave American was determined to brighten the light of learning through books, written in the native tongue of the students she had never met, whom she felt it incumbent to help.
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