US President Barack Obama and his defence secretary Leon Panetta have praised special forces for conducting a successful rescue operation in Afghanistan that left one American soldier and seven militants dead.
The mission that rescued an American citizen “was characteristic of the extraordinary courage, skill and patriotism that our troops” show every day, Obama said.
“Tragically, we lost one of our special operators in this effort. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, just as we must always honor our troops and military families,” he said in a statement.
The US special forces killed seven Taliban militants in the pre-dawn raid on Sunday carried out to rescue hostage Dr Dilip Joseph who was in “imminent danger of injury or death”, NATO’s International Security Assistance Force said.
He had been abducted on December 5 by Taliban militants in the Surobi district of Kabul province. NATO said the rescued doctor was undergoing evaluations, and would soon be rejoining his family.
Westerners are a prize target for Taliban Islamists, who have waged an 11-year insurgency.