COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A Colorado Springs doctor abducted by the Taliban last week was rescued Saturday in Afghanistan, a U.S.-led military coalition confirmed Sunday morning.
Dr. Dilip Joseph is the medical adviser for a Colorado Springs NGO, his employer confirmed to ABC News Sunday.
Dr. Joseph and two colleagues were kidnapped by a group of armed men while returning from a visit to a rural medical clinic in eastern Kabul Province, according to a statement from their employer, Colorado Springs-based Morning Star Development. The statement said the three were eventually taken to a mountainous area about 50 miles from the border with Pakistan.
Morning Star’s crisis management team in Colorado Springs was in contact with the hostages and their captors almost immediately, the statement said.
On Saturday evening in Afghanistan, two of the three hostages were released. Morning Star did not release their names in order to protect their identities. Dr. Joseph remained in captivity.
Gen. John R. Allen, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, ordered the mission to rescue Joseph when “intelligence showed that Joseph was in imminent danger of injury or death”, according to a military press release.
Morning Star said Joseph was in good condition and will probably return home to Colorado Springs in the next few days.
A Defense Department official told ABC’s Luis Martinez that Joseph can walk, but was beaten up by his captors.
The family of Dilip Joseph issued this statement Sunday evening:
"The uncertainty of the days of this ordeal were harrowing and we are so thankful and grateful for the safe return of Dilip to our family. We are incredibly grateful for the multiple agencies of the US government that have supported us in this difficult time, and especially the quick response by our military and partner allies to rescue Dilip. They showed great heroism and professionalism.
"We want to extend our deepest condolences to the family of the American sailor who died during Dilip's rescue. We could not be more grateful for that soldier's heroism and for the bravery of all involved in the mission to bring Dilip home."
President Barack Obama issued this statement on Joseph's rescue:
"Yesterday, our special operators in Afghanistan rescued an American citizen in a mission that was characteristic of the extraordinary courage, skill and patriotism that our troops show every day. 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 gave his life for his fellow Americans, and he and his teammates remind us once more of the selfless service that allows our nation to stay strong, safe and free."
Joseph has worked for Morning Star Development for three years, the organization said, and travels frequently to Afghanistan.
“Morning Star Development does state categorically that we paid no ransom, money or other consideration to the captors or anyone else to secure the release of these hostages,” the organization said.
Joseph can be seen in the Morning Star Development video below.
“Due to security concerns, some cannot be named but their help will never be forgotten. Among these who cannot be named we include all of the courageous members of the U.S. military who successfully rescued Mr. Joseph as they risked their own lives doing so,” the statement said.