U.S. diplomat, 4 other Americans killed in Afghanistan on the way to donate books to students

CHICAGO - A 25-year-old U.S. diplomat from Illinois was among the 5 Americans killed in an explosion Saturday as she traveled to donate books to students in Afghanistan.

Anne Smedinghoff, a 25-year-old foreign service officer with the U.S. State Department, died Saturday. Her group was traveling to donate books to students when it was struck by an explosion.

The Chicago-area woman is the first American diplomat to die on the job since last year's attack on the U.S. diplomatic installation in Benghazi, Libya.

Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday that Smedinghoff was "vivacious, smart" and "capable."

Anne Smedinghoff's parents said in an emailed statement to The Washington Post that their daughter was "always looking for opportunities to reach out and help make a difference" for those in the war-torn country.

Smedinghoff previously served in Venezuela.

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