On August 3, 2001, the Taliban arrested Georg Taubmann, Dayna Curry, Heather Mercer, five other Westerners, and 16 Afghans affiliated with Shelter Now, a German aid agency. The Taliban held them until November, when U.S. forces rescued the Westerners. Taubmann, who directs Shelter Now, returned to Afghanistan last summer to resume his ministry. Taubmann spoke with Christianity Today from his office in Kabul.
After all that has happened, why have you returned to Afghanistan?
While we were in prison, we were praying much that God would open the door for us to continue our work in Afghanistan. I tried to go back as soon as I could. I feel that this is the place where God has called me. Also I'm excited to see a changed Afghanistan. For the 19 years I was [working among Afghans], things were going from bad to worse. I think now it's a good time. I and many, many others have strong hopes that things really have changed and are going to change, and I really wanted to take part in helping to rebuild Afghanistan.
How have things changed?
For the first time, really, we have a proper government. Most of the people are competent, are concerned for the country. It's much, much easier now to work with the government, to work out contracts and agreements. It's a completely different atmosphere.
What are you doing?
When we came back, we had to see what was left from our houses. Most of the stuff was looted. Our offices were looted. All my personal belongings were looted. So we had to practically start all over again—rent new office buildings, rent new houses, buy furniture. We at the moment are rebuilding several villages in the province of Shamall, north of Kabul. It had been completely devastated by the Taliban. In Logar province we're building ...