US-led coalition: US doctor rescued from Taliban

By HEATH DRUZIN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: December 8, 2012

KABUL — U.S. forces rescued a kidnapped American doctor Sunday in eastern Afghanistan in an operation that left seven insurgents dead, though military officials would not disclose if any coalition or Afghan troops were killed or wounded.

Dr. Dilip Joseph, along with an Afghan doctor and a driver, were kidnapped Dec. 5 in Kabul province’s Surobi district and held by the Taliban in a mountainous area of Laghman province, Afghan and U.S. military officials said. Joseph had been overseeing operations at a medical clinic in the village of Jigdali and was driving to the clinic when he was captured.

“Today’s mission exemplifies our unwavering commitment to defeating the Taliban,” said Gen. John Allen, commander of U.S. 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, of Colorado Springs, Colo., works for the non-governmental organization Morning Star Development, and has been working as a medical adviser to the organization for three years, during which he frequently traveled to Afghanistan, according a Morning Star news release.

The Afghan doctor and driver were released before the raid, following days of negotiations, according to local officials and Morning Star.

Jospeh normally traveled with a contingent of district police officers for security but on Wednesday went without security, said Dr. Sayed Jan, the head of health services for Surubi District and who had worked with Jospeh.

Historically, Surobi district, just east of the capital, has been one of the most violent areas of Kabul province.

Allen ordered the rescue mission when coalition forces became concerned about Joseph’s safety, said Air Force 1st Lt. Joe Alonso, a spokesman for the international military coalition in Afghanistan.

“We used multiple intelligence sources and from this we determined that Dr. Joseph was in imminent danger of injury or death,” he said.

Joseph, who was in good condition and uninjured, was taken to Bagram Airfield following the raid for evaluation, according to Morning Star. 

 Zubair Babakarkhail contributed to this report.

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