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Virginia man slain in Afghan attack documented aid work

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RICHMOND, Va. — A Virginia videographer who was part of a medical mission team that was killed in Afghanistan was committed to helping disadvantaged people and had a knack for uncovering beauty in the war-torn nation, friends and family said Monday.

Brian Carderelli, 25, had been in Afghanistan since September and was using his training as a photographer and videographer to document aid work done by the International Assistance Mission, a Kabul-based Christian group.

Carderelli, of Harrisonburg, was among 10 volunteers shot to death Thursday after finishing a two-week mission providing medical care to impoverished villagers in the remote Nuristan province. The Taliban has claimed responsibility, saying the aid workers were spies who were trying to convert Muslims, an allegation that the charity denies.

Carderelli worked for the International School of Kabul. His family said Monday that he was invited by two of the mission group's doctors, who also were killed, to document the Nuristan trip.

"He loved people and was particularly concerned for the poor," his family said in a statement Monday.

He also took photographs of Afghan people and landscapes, and his family said he was compiling an album titled "The Beauty — It's Not All War."

Photos and videos Carderelli posted online showed that he ventured out among the Afghan people and depicted their everyday lives.

One video showed hordes of horsemen galloping across a dirt field in an attempt to grab the carcass of a young goat in the traditional sport of Buzkashi; another depicted Afghan men using hammers to make tools and other items by hand.

Carderelli graduated in 2009 with a degree in digital video from James Madison University. John Woody, a professor in JMU's School of Media Arts and Design, remembered his former student as an extraordinary and compassionate person who was getting started in a promising career.

"It's just so sad for us. He had such a passion for telling great stories," Woody said in a telephone interview. "That was the hardest thing for me, to hear the news about this. He was working diligently to put a great story together."

Carderelli was an Eagle Scout who enjoyed the outdoors, including hiking, snowboarding and surfing, his family said.

He also was an active, lifelong member of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Harrisonburg, said family friend J.D. Patton, an elder at the church.

"Brian was a Christian who was killed as he was fulfilling his life ambition to use his talents and training to show the love of Christ to the poor and disadvantaged," the church said in a statement.

Plans for a memorial service haven't been set. A fund is to be established at the church to help the family cover funeral and other expenses, Patton said.