Businessman killed in rural Afghanistan
LAST UPDATED: Aug. 2By Sheldon C. Good Mennonite World Review
A Mennonite independent businessman from Ohio was shot and killed July 23 in rural Afghanistan.
Al Geiser, 65, of Kidron, Ohio, was returning from work on a hydroelectric project, according to a statement from the family. A close Afghan friend and business partner and another Afghan co-worker were also killed.
Since 2000, Geiser and his wife, Gladys, had been based in Kabul. They served with Mennonite Mission Network in Afghanistan from 2000 to 2009, working through International Assistance Mission. Geiser built small water turbines to bring electricity to rural villages, while Gladys taught elementary school for an International Assistance Mission-sponsored school.
Both were supported by Kidron Mennonite Church. Their two children live in the United States.
“The community is shocked and grieving,” said Carl Wiebe, lead team pastor at Kidron Mennonite Church.
In 2008 Al Geiser was kidnapped by an armed group and held for 56 days in Afghanistan. He had been away at a job site in Wardak Province when he was abducted.
U.S. soldiers rescued him, killing several militants, the Associated Press reported at the time.
The Geisers responded “to a call on their lives” and “went to Afghanistan with joy and purpose, and have grown to love the people,” the family’s statement said. “They were simply living out their lives, following the model of Jesus, serving the needs of all peoples.
“The Geisers were aware of and accepted the risks in their work for peace in Afghanistan and have exemplified a lifestyle of Christian service, having served internationally, nationally and locally for many years.”
An Associated Press report describing the killing of an American that fits the circumstances of Geiser’s death said the killing occured in northern Parwan Province. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the killing.
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