KABUL: US soldiers killed seven Taleban insurgents in a successful pre-dawn raid to rescue a kidnapped American doctor in eastern Afghanistan yesterday, the NATO force in the war-torn country said.
The mission was launched when intelligence showed that Dr. Dilip Joseph was in “imminent danger of injury or death,” NATO’s International Security Assistance Force said in a statement.
Joseph was abducted on Dec. 5 by Taleban insurgents in the Surobi district of Kabul province.
“Today’s mission exemplifies our unwavering commitment to defeating the Taleban,” said General John Allen, the commander of US and ISAF forces in Afghanistan.
“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 was now “undergoing evaluations,” the statement said, without giving further details.
A security source said that the doctor had been involved in building clinics in Afghanistan but details of his capture were not immediately available.
Hazrat Mohammad Haqbeen, the district governor of Surobi said that the man was kidnapped along with an Afghan colleague who was released in return for a ransom earlier in the week.
And “today the American national was freed in an operation. We don’t know the details of the operation,” Haqbeen said.
He said the men were kidnapped in Surobi but were held in a village in the Qarghayi district of the neighboring province of Laghman. The governor said the US citizen was visiting a clinic when captured.
An ISAF spokesman said the rescue had been launched when multiple intelligence sources indicated that he was in immediate danger. “We felt we had to act now,” he said.
Seven of the doctor’s captors were killed in the operation, which involved combined US and Afghan forces, he said.
He gave no further details of where the doctor had been held or on the rescue operation itself, saying they could be announced later in the day.
Surobi outside Kabul had been under the control of French troops until April this year, when responsibility for security was handed to Afghan forces as part of France’s accelerated withdrawal from the country.
Iranian consulate attacked
In the western Afghan city of Herat, hundreds of angry demonstrators tried to storm the Iranian consulate to protest the alleged killing of Afghan immigrants by Iranian security forces.
The 200-strong crowd threw rocks and broke consulate windows before security forces drove them back by firing warning shots into the air.
The crowd claimed 13 Afghans who had crossed the border into Iran were seized and later shot dead by Iranian security forces about three months ago.
“Over the past several months we have been demanding the Iranians return the bodies of our relatives but they are not returning them,” one protester said.
Protesters shouted slogans against Iran and its President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and said they would “support the United States if it invades Iran.”
Dozens of police blocked the crowd as it tried to storm the Iranian consulate, the reporter said. The mob later gathered around the governor’s house and continued shouting anti-Iran slogans, he added.
Consulate officials could not be reached for comment.