A young U.S. foreign service officer, a civilian Defense Department employee and an Afghan doctor were killed Saturday when a car bomb exploded as their convoy was passing on the way to deliver books to children at an Afghan school.
The attack in southern Afghanistan's Zabul province also killed three U.S. soldiers. A separate attack in the east of the country Saturday killed another U.S. civilian working for the government.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he had met the foreign service officer, whose name was not immediately released, when he was in Kabul last week. He described her as "smart, capable, eager to serve and deeply committed to our country and the difference she was making for the Afghan people." She was traveling with a group to bring donated books to students in the provincial capital, Qalat, when the bomb exploded.
Saturday's attacks come as the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, arrived in Afghanistan to meet with American and Afghan officials and assess the number of U.S. troops who should remain in the country to train Afghan soldiers after next year.
General Dempsey is expected to also visit with American troops in the field, as part of the effort to plan the U.S. role in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of combat units by the end of 2014.