KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - U.S. and Afghan military forces rescued an American doctor who had been kidnapped by the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan, military authorities said Sunday. Officials in Washington later confirmed that one of the rescuers was killed in the operation.
The kidnapped doctor, identified as Dilip Joseph, a U.S. citizen working for a nonprofit group based in Colorado, was rescued along with two Afghan doctors and an Afghan driver, according to international forces and local Afghan officials.
The doctors and driver were abducted by gunmen Wednesday afternoon after they visited a rural clinic in the village of Jad Dalak, in the Sorobi district of Kabul province, east of the capital, said Hazrat Mohammed Haqbin, the district governor. The kidnappers demanded $100,000 for the captives' safe return, Jan said
Naqibullah Khan, the Sorobi chief of police, said that U.S. special operations forces and Afghan police and military launched a rescue operation after receiving information that the captives were likely to be harmed. Afghan police managed to capture the insurgents' commander, Shah Gul, who told them the captives' location, according to Jan.
During the operation, American and Afghan forces killed six insurgents and detained two kidnappers in addition to Gul, Jan said.
A statement from the International Security Assistance Force said Joseph was undergoing a medical evaluation Sunday.
The Sorobi district lies along the main paved highway linking Kabul to the eastern city of Jalalabad. The road is considered relatively safe, at least during daylight hours. It is patrolled by Afghan police and soldiers, with checkpoints set up at regular intervals.
The kidnapping occurred on a rural road far from the main highway, local officials said. Kidnappings are common in Afghanistan, with both foreigners and wealthy Afghans targeted, usually with the intent of extorting large ransoms.
In a statement issued by the White House press office, President Obama praised "our special operators in Afghanistan [who] rescued an American citizen . . . in a mission that was characteristic of the extraordinary courage, skill and patriotism that our troops show every day."
He also extended "thoughts and prayers" to the family of "one of our special operators" who participated in the rescue. "He gave his life for his fellow Americans," the president said.