KABUL, AFGHANISTAN — U.S. Special Forces soldiers freed a kidnapped American working for the Army Corps of Engineers in a daring nighttime operation that was the first known hostage rescue by American forces in Afghanistan.
The American, whose name was not released, was abducted in mid-August and had been held in a growing insurgent stronghold 30 miles west of Kabul, the Afghan capital, U.S. military officials said. 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 and have demanded large ransoms or the release of imprisoned Taliban fighters. Increasingly aggressive crime syndicates have also raked in money by kidnapping wealthy Afghans and foreigners and demanding ransoms.
Hostage rescues are difficult and rarely attempted. Only two other such missions are known to have occurred, both in 2007. In one, both Italian captives were wounded in a raid by Italian commandos.