- Associated Press - Monday, December 1, 2014

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The foreign aid group Partnership in Academics and Development said Monday it has closed its Kabul, Afghanistan, office after an attack by Taliban fighters killed the office’s director, his two teenage children and two Afghan citizens.

Several other people were injured, the group’s international field director, Allen Goff, told The Associated Press in an email. He did not elaborate.

Werner Groenewald, a 46-year-old South African who led the group’s charitable activities in Afghanistan, was among those killed, Goff said. He identified the others as Groenewald’s 15- and 17-year-old children and two Afghan citizens. He did not release their names.

Afghan authorities said Saturday’s attack was carried out by three Taliban militants who stormed the office. One exploded a suicide vest and the other two were killed in a gunfight with police. At least one of the attackers wore a police uniform, authorities said.

Goff said PAD, an international aid group with an office in Redlands, California, has operated in Afghanistan since 2002, providing educational services to both children and adults. Groenewald, 46, had been the country’s director since 2011.

“For the immediate future the PAD offices will be closed as we care for our staff who have experienced the traumatic death of beloved co-workers and friends,” the organization said in a statement.

“We ask the global community to pray and work for peace within Afghanistan.”

Although the group said it hopes to continue its work in the country, it added that no date has been set for the office’s reopening.

The organization, which also has an office in France, was founded in Uzbekistan.

Recent projects in Afghanistan have included providing toilets for schools, teaching English as a second language and other subjects, and offering health programs.


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