This has been an extraordinary few weeks for me and for the San Rafael-based nonprofit Roots of Peace. We went to Afghanistan at the end of January in a trip that we only started planning right after the holidays! Roots of Peace was offered a private meeting with new President Ashraf Ghani at the Presidential Palace. I was offered an exclusive one-on-one interview with him. It was incredible!
My series of stories includes my conversation with President Ghani who is charming and funny, plus, an exclusive interview with the NATO Commander in Kabul, General John F. Campbell. I also talk with some of the brave women who work with Roots of Peace. They worry about Taliban attacks that can happen anywhere at any time. I talked with the men working with farmers and traders and learn why their program is so successful. And I have an exclusive interview with the head of the USAID Mission in Afghanistan, Bill Hammink, on the progress in education and infrastructure. I also talk with President Ghani's close friend and trusted adviser, Dr. Mo Qayoumi, President of San Jose State University, about their conversations on rebuilding Afghanistan.
I've been following the work of Roots of Peace since 2003, when they had a pilot project in Afghanistan to remove landmines in farm fields and teach farmers how to improve their crops with the latest techniques. When I went back this year, 10 years later, I was astonished at the changes and the improvements. Farming has become much more sophisticated. Roots of Peace, with funding from USAID is taking farmers and traders from Afghanistan to the big trade fair shows outside the country so they can see how the rest of the world works in buying and selling. Some of those traders are becoming rich, the farmers are making money and the new President wants this concept to move even faster! And he wants the Silicon Valley to join him with private investments.
More Information and Features:
You can see all of my full reports here:
Here is my exclusive one-on-one interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
Here is my exclusive one-on-one interview with the American general in charge of the NATO mission in Afghanistan, General John F. Campbell.
Here is my story about meeting the women in Afghanistan risking their lives to work for Roots of Peace.
I looked into the key role the Bay Area nonprofit Roots of Peace is taking part in to create a positive impact on Afghanistan's economy.
During my exclusive one-on-one interview, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani told me that he's asking Silicon Valley to help him rebuild his country by investing in the economy.
I obtained never-before-seen cellphone video of two suicide bombing attacks at a building in Kabul almost a year ago. Taliban insurgents targeted the westerners inside the Roots of Peace building. I learn how the charity picked itself up and is continuing its mission helping farmers grow their businesses.