RALEIGH, N.C. – An American, who was killed this week in an Afghanistan Taliban attack, dedicated her life to helping the poor in under-developed nations.
Paula Kantor, 46, traveled all over the world, working to provide aid to those less fortunate, especially women. Kantor was staying at Park Palace Hotel when it was raided by gunmen late Wednesday. The incident left 14 people dead.
Kantor was a gender and development specialist in Kabul to work on a project. She was working with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico.
According to Kantor’s father, she spent her entire adult life working overseas in a variety of countries. Her goal was to improve the economic positions of women. She had joined the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in February as the center’s senior scientist. She is described as having been talented, committed, and energetic.
Kantor worked as the director of the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit for two years. Previously, she was based in Malaysia doing work for WorldFish.
Her father says that she was a typical high school student, but began to change in college. A professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill talked Kantor into working in India where she was exposed to extreme poverty. Coming home, Kantor had a different view point when it came to materialism and helping the impoverished.
Kantor’s parents last saw her in February when she visited home between stays overseas.
Also killed in the attack were a British citizen, four Indian nationals, two Pakistanis, and an Italian. Five Afghans were killed and seven were left wounded. The area was quickly surrounded by armed police and special forces. The Taliban claimed responsibility in an e-mailed statement.
The incident heightens fears of attacks against foreigners by the Taliban. It is reported that the three gunmen were all killed during the ensuing shootout.
Our deepest sympathies are with Ms. Kantor’s family and the families of all involved in the incident.