Anne and those with her 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.Secretary of State John Kerry • Discussing the death of Anne Smedinghoff, a 25-year-old U.S. Foreign Service Officer who was killed when delivering books to a school in Afghanistan. (Her group was ambushed by the Taliban, and she was one of six Americans killed Saturday.) Kerry, who had met the Illinois native just two weeks ago while on a trip to the country, said that she was ”a selfless, idealistic woman who woke up yesterday morning and set out to bring textbooks to school children, to bring them knowledge.” Her parents offered up a similar statement on the tragedy. Smedinghoff’s death is the first of a U.S. diplomat since last year’s Benghazi’s attack.
I did not hear the train at all. I did not hear the horn as it was approaching the intersection. I only heard it right about three seconds before it slammed into the back of the tractor-trailer.Midland, Tx. resident Joe Cobarobio • Discussing the train accident during the parade he was filming on Thursday — a Show of Support parade for veterans of war. Four people died in the accident on Thursday. A dozen of the victims in the accident — whether killed or injured — were veterans of the Iraq or Afghan Wars.
I would expect it will be significant, which means thousands, not hundreds, but I would not expect it to be the majority.British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond • Discussing the planned troop withdrawals out of Afghanistan next year. Roughly 500 troops will get removed by the end of 2012, leaving about 9,000 still in the country — so based on Hammond’s statement, as many as 4,500 troops will get withdrawn in 2013.
Bruce’s wife tragically witnessed her husband’s death during one of their regular Skype video-chats on Monday. At the time of the incident, the family was hoping for a rescue and miracle, but later learned that it was not to be.Bradley Taber-Thomas, brother-in-law of U.S. Army Capt. Bruce Kevin Clark • Discussing the distressing way Clark’s wife learned of her Afghanistan-stationed husband’s death earlier this week — while the two were having a video chat on Skype. ”Although the circumstances were unimaginable, Bruce’s wife and extended family will be forever thankful that he and his wife were together in his last moments,” Taber-Thomas said. So sad. (via Stefan Becket)
I recognize that many Americans are tired of war. I will not keep Americans in harm’s way a single day longer than is absolutely required for our national security. But we must finish the job we started in Afghanistan, and end this war responsibly.President Barack Obama • Speaking in a televised speech in Afghanistan, hours after landing at a military base near Kabul in a surprise visit. While emphasizing the need to end the war — the last combat troops are expected to leave in 2014 — he spoke of the importance of seeing the mission through. “The goal that I set, to defeat Al Qaeda and deny it the chance to rebuild, is now within our reach,” he said. While in Afghanistan, the president signed a document with Afghan president Hamid Karzai “Enduring Strategic Partnership Agreement,” meant to clarify the American role in the country after the war.