Washington, Dec 10: President Barack Obama and Defence Secretary Leon Panetta have praised the elite US special operations team for a weekend rescue mission in Afghanistan to free an Indian American doctor abducted by the Taliban.
Seven Taliban militants were killed in the operation to free doctor Dilip Joseph, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, who was captured outside of Kabul five days ago, according to CBS.
A member of Navy SEAL Team that killed Osama bin Laden was himself killed during the mission, it said. But the US did not immediately identify the slain operative.
Obama praised the special forces Sunday, saying the mission was characteristic of US troops' “extraordinary courage, skill and patriotism”.
A spokesman for the US forces in Afghanistan said Joseph was rescued early Sunday in eastern Afghanistan.
Joseph, a medical adviser for Colorado Springs-based Morning Star Development, was rescued after intelligence showed he was in imminent danger of injury or possible death, according to the US military.
“He gave his life for his fellow Americans, and he and his teammates remind us once more of the selfless service that allows our nation to stay strong, safe and free,” Obama said of the fallen American service member in a statement.
In a separate statement Sunday, Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said, “In this fallen hero, and all of our special operators, Americans see the highest ideals of citizenship, sacrifice and service upheld.”
Gen. John Allen, the top commander of US forces in Afghanistan, said the joint force planned, rehearsed and successfully conducted the operation.
“Thanks to them, doctor Joseph will soon be rejoining his family and loved ones,” Allen said.
Morning Star, a relief group that helps rebuild communities in Afghanistan, said in a statement that Joseph was uninjured and would probably return home in a few days.
The group also said two of his co-workers were freed by their captors about 11 hours before the rescue, after hours of negotiations were conducted over three days.