Now, over the weekend in Afghanistan a suicide bomber took the life of five Americans. They were on a mission to deliver books to an Afghan school. They were military personnel, a Defense Department civilian, and the first State Department Foreign Service officer to be killed in Afghanistan. She was 25-year-old Anne Smedinghoff. NPR's Sean Carberry in Kabul sent this remembrance.
From 'Morning Edition': Remembering Anne Smedinghoff
Death comes with the territory when you work in conflict zones. On sometimes a daily basis, those of us who have worked in Iraq and Afghanistan in particular have filed stories with headlines like, "Four troops killed during insurgent attack," or "IED kills 10 civilians and wounds six."
It's a blur of numbers and uniforms. When we get word of an incident, we scramble to determine what happened, the nationality of the victims and any other pertinent details. But it's all very anonymous and impersonal, most of the time. It's reporting. It's work.
In some ways, it was like any other writing class: backpacks, books, rough drafts, discussions about literature. But instructor Christine Dumaine Leche and her students weren't sitting in a college classroom or a community center — they were on an air base in Afghanistan and the students usually came to class after long days in a war zone. Leche was teaching them to translate their experiences — the danger, the boredom, the painful separation from their families, the fear and the hatred — into prose.