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US commandos rescue American hostage near Kabul

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posted on Oct, 23 2008 @ 01:27 PM
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 man's safety.

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 information.

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 off him."

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."

posted on Nov, 3 2008 @ 01:51 PM
Yeah, didn't figure too many people here would be interested in this.

Now, if it were some BS blog article on US troops eating Iraqi babies, I bet they would be at least three pages of hate to read thru!

posted on Nov, 3 2008 @ 06:44 PM

Originally posted by jerico65
Yeah, didn't figure too many people here would be interested in this.

It's still a good idea to post stories you think are important for people to read. Glories of the internet.

The article itself is pretty interesting. And here's also a CNN link to their coverage of the story.

It's odd that the stories stress 1) kidnapping/ransom like this is growing more common and 2) rescue raids are rare. Kind of reinforces the lawlessness going on over there. Petraeus might be putting more focus on this area shortly, which would be a good thing.

posted on Nov, 3 2008 @ 06:47 PM
reply to post by jerico65

Alright! Love to hear of these rescues. Great job to the US commandos!

posted on Nov, 3 2008 @ 09:53 PM
Sounds like a well-run operation that accomplished it's goal with flying colors.

Yes, it is good to hear about things going right for a change.

Too bad we can't get more details, but I guess that's the way SpecOps needs to work, if they're going to get the job done

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