DENVER (AP) — An American aid doctor is expected to return to the United States by early next week after he was abducted in Afghanistan and rescued in an operation that left a Navy SEAL dead, officials said Wednesday.
Dr. Dilip Joseph is doing well, said Lars Peterson, executive director of Morning Star Development, a Colorado Springs nonprofit where Joseph works as a medical adviser.
Morning Star establishes medical clinics and community centers in Afghanistan. It also operates a leadership training program there and helps Afghans start business ventures.
Peterson said he hasn’t spoken with Joseph but does not believe he suffered any abuse from his captors.
“I think he’s doing good,” Peterson said. “He’s such a positive and encouraging person. Life kind of exudes from him.”
Joseph and two other Morning Star staff members were abducted by Taliban insurgents on Dec. 5. The other two workers were released by their captors on Saturday after negotiations.
The U.S. military said it launched the mission to rescue Joseph after intelligence showed he was in imminent danger of injury or possible death.
The two other Morning Star workers are not U.S. citizens, Peterson said. He declined to identify their home nations.
Peterson said he didn’t know why the insurgents did not release Joseph with the other captives, but he speculated the insurgents may have regarded Joseph as a more valuable hostage because he was a U.S. citizen.
Morning Star said it did not pay a ransom or make other offers to get any of the three released.
Joseph has worked with Morning Star for three years. The group said he frequently travels to Afghanistan.
Petty Officer 1st Class Nicolas Checque, of Monroeville, Pa., died in the rescue.
Checque, 28, was a member of SEAL Team Six, the same elite unit that killed Osama bin Laden last year, but it was not known whether he participated in that mission.
– By Dan Elliott, AP Writer
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