Diplomats in Harm's Way

This section recognizes the dedication and sacrifices of foreign affairs personnel who have faced particularly dangerous conditions during their service abroad.



Diplomats at Risk

Following are just some of the many of the stories of U.S. diplomats and foreign employees of American missions who have faced great danger in crisis situations.  An excellent reference on incidents before 1995 is Joseph G. Sullivan’s   Embassies Under Siege: Personal Accounts by Diplomats on the Front Line, published by Brassey’s in 1995.   Unfortunately, that volume has not been updated to chronicle the heroism and sacrifice of  those serving in later years. 



A 25-year-old Foreign Service Officer on only her second tour with the State Department, Smedinghoff was one of five Americans killed in a suicide bomb attack in Qalat, Zabul in southern Afghanistan. Working as a press officer for U.S. Embassy Kabul, she was helping Afghan journalists cover an event at a school where the local U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Team was to donate math and science books.  Secretary of State John Kerry, for whom Smedinghoff was the control officer during a visit to Afghanistan a few weeks earlier, described her as "a selfless, idealistic woman who woke up yesterday morning and set out to bring textbooks to school children, to bring them knowledge."