Dr. Dilip Joseph of Colorado Springs, Colo., was abducted on Wednesday in the Sarobi District of Kabul Province before being freed Saturday by a U.S. Special Operations team working with the Afghans, the military said.
“Today’s mission exemplifies our unwavering commitment to defeating the Taliban,” said Gen. John R. Allen, the commander of USFOR-A. “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.”
A helicopter led the nighttime raid in eastern Afghanistan, not far from the Pakistan border. Allen ordered the mission when intelligence showed that Joseph was in danger of serious injury or death at the hands of the insurgents, according to ABC News. No U.S. troops were wounded, but several Taliban were killed, the military said.
After his rescue, Joseph received medical treatment for a vicious beating he received at the hands of the Taliban, who target American citizens. Military officials said they knew of his capture on Wednesday but did not make the news public to avoid putting Joseph in further danger.
“We were concerned for his life,” said a Pentagon official. “He was not being held in the best of conditions, he was not being treated well and there was concern for his safety. And the longer it went on if he was not killed, it would become harder and harder. There were indications he might be being moved to Pakistan.”
CNN reported Joseph and two other members of the non-profit group Morning Star Development were abducted at gunpoint and taken to a remote, mountainous region of Afghanistan. Conflicting reports allege that the trio was not taken by the Taliban but by a group of smugglers who then extorted the families of the other two men out of $12,000 for their release.
Afghan tribal leaders told CNN that a driver and an engineer who had been working with the Morning Star doctors were arrested for contacting smugglers and allegedly organizing the kidnapping. U.S. officials were silent on that issue.
Joseph has worked for Morning Star Development for three years, the Colorado Springs organization said, and travels frequently to Afghanistan.
"Morning Star Development does state categorically that we paid no ransom, money or other consideration to the captors or anyone else to secure the release of these hostages," the organization said in a statement reported by ABC News.