Share This Page

Special ops team member killed in Afghan rescue mission

| Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, 9:32 p.m.

WASHINGTON — A member of a U.S. special operations team was killed during a weekend rescue mission in Afghanistan that freed an American doctor abducted by the Taliban outside of Kabul five days ago.

President Obama praised the special forces on Sunday, saying the mission was characteristic of U.S. troops' “extraordinary courage, skill and patriotism.”

A spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan said Dilip Joseph of Colorado Springs 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 military.

The special operator killed in the mission was not immediately identified.

“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.

In a separate statement on Sunday, Defense 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.”

Morning Star, a relief group that helps rebuild communities in Afghanistan, said in a statement that Joseph was uninjured and probably would return home in a few days. The group 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.

Morning Star said the three workers were abducted by a group of armed men while returning from a visit to one of the organization's rural medical clinics in eastern Kabul province.

The group said the three workers were taken into mountains about 50 miles from the Pakistan border. The relief group said it would not reveal the identity of the two other men because they live and work in the region.

The group said it did not pay ransom to obtain their release.

The kidnappers had demanded $100,000 for the captives' safe return, said Sayed Jan, health director of the Sorobi District. Afghan police managed to capture the insurgents' commander, Shah Gul, who told them the captives' location, according to Jan.

Morning Star praised those who helped get the workers back unharmed, singling out “courageous members of the U.S. military who successfully rescued Mr. Joseph as they risked their own lives doing so.”

The group also offered thanks to local Afghan elders and local leaders “who made visits and appeals to the captors advocating for the release of the hostages.”

Saturday night, military forces rescued Joseph in a mission ordered by Gen. John Allen, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Afghan officials said the operation took place in Laghman province.

“Today's mission exemplifies our unwavering commitment to defeating the Taliban,” Allen said in a statement. “I'm proud of the American and Afghan forces that planned, rehearsed and successfully conducted this operation. Thanks to them, Dr. Joseph will soon be rejoining his family and loved ones.”

Joseph has worked with Morning Star for three years. He serves as its medical adviser, and travels frequently to Afghanistan, the agency said.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.