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Doctor freed from Taliban

Kabul, Dec. 9: Dilip Joseph, an American doctor kidnapped by the Taliban, was rescued today by Afghan and coalition forces in eastern Afghanistan, officials said. At least six persons were killed and two Taliban leaders were arrested during the rescue.

Joseph and two Afghan doctors were abducted on Wednesday as they travelled to a clinic in the Sorobi district of eastern Afghanistan, about an hour outside the capital, said the district police chief, Naqeebullah Khan.

The rescue by Afghan and American forces took place early Sunday in Laghman province after coalition officials received reports that the doctor was in imminent danger of injury or death. It is unclear whether any Afghan or coalition forces were injured during the rescue.

Joseph is a medical adviser for Morningstar Development, a non-profit organisation based in Colorado that focuses on economic and community development in Afghanistan.

In the case of Joseph, the kidnappers were believed to have been demanding a $100,000 ransom.

As part of the rescue attempt, security forces instructed the negotiators to take the ransom with them to determine the location of the kidnappers, said Said Jan, the director of the public health clinic in Sorobi, where the abduction occurred.

Once the location was determined, Afghan and coalition troops started the rescue operation and killed at least six Taliban fighters and arrested two leaders, Shah Gul and Raza Gul, local officials said.

“Today’s mission exemplifies our unwavering commitment to defeating the Taliban,” said Gen. John R. Allen, the commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, who ordered the mission. “I’m proud of the American and Afghan forces that planned, rehearsed and successfully conducted this operation.”

The abductions occurred about 50km from a stretch of highway heading east from the capital toward Jalalabad. The highway itself is considered safe during the day, but travel is much more dangerous in the areas off the main road.