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Kerry’s visit ‘very comforting’ to family of U.S. diplomat killed in Afghanistan

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Updated: May 17, 2013 6:45AM

Secretary of State John Kerry offered heartwarming condolences Monday during a stop in Chicago to visit the family of the young U.S. diplomat from River Forest who was killed while delivering textbooks in southern Afghanistan on April 6.

“It was a very personal visit, and for us very comforting and consoling,” said Tom Smedinghoff, whose daughter, Anne, 25, will be buried Wednesday. “It meant a lot to us to have the opportunity to visit personally with the secretary to hear his personal recollections of Anne from his recent visit in Kabul.”

Smedinghoff stood with his wife, Mary Beth, and their three other children as he spoke briefly on the front lawn of his west suburban home about meeting with Kerry at O’Hare Airport.

“It really reinforces for us that Anne was part of a very close-knit family of very dedicated people who are serving our country in so many different ways,” he said.

Kerry made the detour on his way back from Japan, the final leg of a 10-day overseas tour that started with tragedy when he learned of Anne Smedinghoff’s death while readying to depart for Turkey on April 6.

Officials sent an SUV Monday to transport the Smedinghoffs to and from the airport.

Smedinghoff and four other Americans were killed while walking from a military base to a nearby school. Two explosions occurred, apparently a suicide car bombing followed by a roadside blast.

Her death came just two weeks after Kerry met Anne while on a visit to Afghanistan, where she served as his guide, an honor often bestowed on up-and-coming members of the foreign service.

Smedinghoff was on her second tour of diplomatic duty. She previously served in Venezuela.

Contributing: AP

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