By Bay City News Service:
The founder and CEO of San Rafael-based Roots of Peace condemned an attack by the Taliban at the organization's facility in western Kabul Friday.
Two civilians, including a young girl, died in the attack along with five members of the Taliban, including a suicide bomber who blew himself up and four Taliban gunmen, Roots of Peace Founder and CEO Heidi Kuhn said. The attack happened at about 6 a.m. local time Friday in Kabul.
The attack happened in front of a Roots of Peace residence in the Karte Char neighborhood of Kabul, Kuhn said. She said deaths also were reported in an adjacent day care center.
Roots of Peace has worked for more than a decade helping Afghan farmers in 34 provinces cultivate crops and increase their income, Kuhn said. There are currently 350 Roots of Peace employees in Afghanistan, she said.
Four Roots of Peace employees, an American, two Malaysians, and a South African, hid beneath clothing in a closet in a bedroom during the attack, which was at about 6 a.m. Pacific time Friday, Kuhn said.
"They called me on my cellphone and said they were under attack," Kuhn, a San Rafael resident, said Friday. None of the Roots of Peace employees were killed.
Two members of the Taliban were killed inside the Roots of Peace facility and Afghan guards killed two other Taliban, Kuhn said.
Kuhn said the attack is "fraught with tragedy."
"The terrorists lost. Afghans were killing Afghans," Kuhn said.
The attack came six days before elections in Afghanistan on April 5.
Kuhn said 50,000 farmers are preparing for spring planting, and 80 percent of Afghans depend on agriculture for a living, Kuhn said.
"We need to protect them with shovels, not guns," she said. "May this be a call to action to plant the seeds of peace. We will continue to lead with faith and not fear and point our shovels in the proper direction, into the ground, and not point guns."
Kuhn said she is the founder of Roots of Peace and has served as CEO for 17 years.
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