The Foreign Service Journal - June 2017
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JUNE 2017




AFSA Book Notes:

The Dust of Kandahar

On April 6, AFSA continued

its popular Book Notes series

with a talk by Ambassador

Jonathan Addleton about his


The Dust of Kandahar:

A Diplomat Among Warriors

in Afghanistan

(Naval Insti-

tute Press, 2016).

The book is a personal

account of Amb. Addleton’s

year of service as the senior

civilian representative at

the U.S. mission in southern

Afghanistan. A career Foreign

Service officer with USAID

since 1984, he retired in

January 2017.

Amb. Addleton wrote

The Dust of Kandahar

in the

form of a journal, to better

allow readers to immerse

themselves in the day-to-day

experience of a tough assign-

ment. An article he wrote for

the October 2015


Service Journal

became the

book’s introduction.

In writing the book, Amb.

Addleton said, he sought

to share the realities of the

Foreign Service and show the

civilian aspects of the war

that he felt had been missing

from previous coverage of U.S.

involvement in Afghanistan.

The book underlines

the international nature of

U.S. work in Afghanistan, as

American military person-

nel and diplomats worked

alongside large numbers of

Australian, Canadian and

Romanian troops stationed in


Together with local

religious leaders and politi-

cians, they worked to ensure

transparent provincial elec-

tions and combat the spread

of polio (which remains

common in that part of the

world), among other chal-

lenging tasks.

Amb. Addleton spoke

movingly of the many “ramp

ceremonies” he attended as

the senior civilian represen-

tative for the Department of

State in Kandahar, gathering

at the airfield to load the cof-

fins of fallen military person-

nel onto transport aircraft

back to the United States.

The most poignant

memory of his year in Kan-

dahar was the tragic death

of Foreign Service Officer

Anne Smedinghoff, who was

killed by a vehicle-borne

improvised explosive device

in Zabul (alongside three U.S.

soldiers and a translator for

the U.S. mission in Kanda-


Amb. Addleton was with

Ms. Smedinghoff when she

was killed. Although he was

not physically injured, the

experience of the explosion

and its aftermath profoundly

changed him, he explained.

During the discussion,

Amb. Addleton touched on

a number of other topics,

including how to recognize

and handle post-traumatic

stress disorder (PTSD) and

the difficulty of attempting

“normal” consulate activities

in an active war zone.

At the beginning of his

talk, Amb. Addleton had

asked those present to

raise their hands if they had

served a tour in Afghanistan;

approximately one-third of

the audience did so. Many

nodded in agreement as he

ended his talk: “Afghanistan

never leaves you, and that’s

certainly the case for me.”

A video of the event is

available on the AFSA web-



—Gemma Dvorak,

Associate Editor

Ambassador (ret.) Jonathan Addleton speaks about his book,

The Dust of


, at the AFSA Book Notes event on April 6.


Friends and Family Honor

Anne Smedinghoff’s Memory

On April 6, friends and former

colleagues of the late Foreign

Service Officer Anne Smed-

inghoff gathered at the State

Department’s Harry S Tru-

man building, to celebrate her

life. Anne’s parents and sister

Regina were also present.

AFSA State Vice President

Angie Bryan attended on the

association’s behalf.

Anne was a public diplo-

macy officer working in the

public affairs section of U.S.

Embassy Kabul, where she

helped to support Afghan

women and children through

sports, music and education

and worked to build posi-

tive relationships between

Afghans and Americans.

On April 6, 2013, Anne was

one of five Americans killed

in a suicide bomb attack in

Qalat, Zabul Province. Her

name is inscribed on the

AFSAmemorial wall, next to

other members of the Foreign

Service who have lost their

lives while serving the United

States abroad.

Director General of the

Foreign Service Arnold

Chacón read a statement