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US: Service Member Died in Afghan Rescue Mission

VOA News
Sunday's rescue of an American doctor officials say was kidnapped in Afghanistan by the Taliban cost a U.S. service member his life.

A NATO spokesman on Monday discussed the rescue of Dr. Dilip Joseph from what he described as kidnappers "heavily armed" with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades.

"The operation took part in eastern Afghanistan and very sadly one of the soldiers who was taking part in the rescue operations died, and our thoughts and condolences go to the families and to the friends of this individual," said  Brigadier General Gunter Katz.

U.S. President Barack Obama spoke about the death Sunday, saying the U.S. special operations team member and his teammates "remind us once more of the selfless service that allows our nation to stay strong, safe and free." Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also praised the service member, calling him a "fallen hero."

Dr. Joseph was rescued early Sunday in a joint operation by U.S. and Afghan forces after intelligence showed he was in imminent danger of injury or death.  The special operations service member killed in the operation is reported to be a Navy SEAL.

Officials say Dr. Joseph and two Afghan co-workers were abducted last Wednesday outside the Afghan capital, in the Sarobi district of Kabul province.  The two Afghans were released Saturday after extensive negotiations.

The three worked for Morning Star Development, a Colorado, U.S.-based relief group that helps rebuild communities in Afghanistan.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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