Well, just to balance out all the "baby killing Americans" stories that are on ATS, here's a good one!
Not that it will get any attention, considering the initial act, the kidnapping of the American Army Corps of Engineers worker, probably wasn't
discussed here, either.
And for those that don't want to check out the link:
By JASON STRAZIUSO, Associated Press Writer Jason Straziuso, Associated Press Writer – Wed Oct 22, 4:15 pm ET
KABUL, Afghanistan – U.S. Special Forces soldiers conducting a daring nighttime operation freed a kidnapped American working for the Army Corps of
Engineers — the first known hostage rescue by American forces in Afghanistan.
The American, who was abducted in mid-August, had been held in a growing insurgent stronghold 30 miles west of Kabul, U.S. military officials told The
Associated Press. They said several insurgents were killed in last week's mission to free him.
Taliban militants have kidnapped dozens of international aid workers, journalists and other foreigners in recent years and have demanded large ransoms
or the release of imprisoned Taliban fighters for their freedom. Increasingly aggressive crime syndicates have also raked in big money by kidnapping
wealthy Afghans and foreigners and demanding ransoms.
Hostage rescues are rarely attempted and are difficult to pull off successfully. Only two such missions are known to have occurred, both in 2007. In
one, both Italian captives were wounded in a raid by Italian commandos.
Last week's rescue came to the attention of the AP after a U.S. military official sought to bring its successful outcome into the public eye.
Officials declined to reveal even the smallest detail or the captive's identity, saying they did not want to compromise military tactics or the
Three U.S. military officials told the AP that Special Forces troops were able to locate the kidnapper's hideaway in the Nirkh district of Wardak
province outside Kabul, but would not specify how. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the
In the case of the rescued American, who had lived in Afghanistan for several years, it was not known whether any ransom demands were made. But a
spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers in Afghanistan said growing insecurity imperils its work to rebuild the country.
"This guy didn't have any money at all. It was like a personal life mission for him to help others," said Bruce J. Huffman, a spokesman for the
Army Corps of Engineers in Afghanistan.
"We all felt sick about it, because he was never going to be able to pay a ransom. He's over here helping people and they're trying to make a buck
News of the rescue comes on the heels of the targeted killing Monday of a British-South African aid worker by Taliban gunmen who accused her of
spreading her Christian faith.
"The hard reality is that more areas are insecure today than they were a year ago. There continues to be a wave of kidnapping — even in the last
few days," Zalmay Khalilzad, the Afghan-born U.S. ambassador to the U.N. told the U.S.-Afghan Business Matchmaking Conference in Washington on
Tuesday. He said attacks are up 30 percent this year.
Mohammad Hazra Janan, the head of the provincial council in Wardak, where the American was kidnapped, said the number of abductions are "rising every
day." He said he knows that large ransoms are being paid.
"There's no rule of law. The government can't prevent these crimes," he said. "Of course the paying of a ransom only encourages that business to
grow. But one effect on society is that the businessmen will flee the country."
The Army Corps of Engineers' work building roads and projects that provide clean water and power helps extend the reach of the Afghan government and
stimulates economic growth.
"Security has been a real problem, and the Corps of Engineers has been working diligently to build facilities for the Afghan National Army and police
in order to foster a secure and stable environment," Huffman said.
The Corps takes precautions to mitigate risk, he said, though he provided no details.
"No one would want to come over here and work if they thought something was going to happen to them," Huffman said. "All our folks are volunteers.
Everyone has different reasons why they volunteer and come, but I think most of the people we have get a lot of joy knowing they're making a
difference and helping to build a nation."
Chris Klawitter, a German entrepreneur working in Afghanistan, said he knows several Afghan businessmen or their relatives who have been kidnapped.
"Routes are checked more carefully now," he said. "The issue is not the Taliban or al-Qaida, it's more criminal activity which is the main
obstacle in traveling nowadays."