US doctor recounts kidnap, rescue in Afghanistan
DENVER (AP) — An American aid doctor who was held captive by the Taliban for four days in Afghanistan in 2012 said he found a surprising kinship with one of his captors but grieves for a Navy SEAL who was killed during his rescue.
Dilip Joseph said Tuesday a 19-year-old Taliban fighter named Wallakah opened up to him about his own violent life and queried Joseph about his, even asking if Joseph would take him to the United States.
“Do you think I can start life all over again?” Wallakah asked. “If I go to America, what could I do, could I go to school?”
Joseph’s book about his abduction, “Kidnapped by the Taliban,” was released Tuesday. He discussed the book and his ordeal in an interview.
Joseph is medical director for the aid group Morning Star Development in Colorado Springs. He and two Afghan colleagues were abducted Dec. 5, 2012, after visiting one of Morning Star’s clinics.
He identifies his colleagues only as Rafiq, a doctor, and Farzad, Rafiq’s driver and assistant.
Over the next four days, they were marched around the desert while their captors tried to negotiate by cellphone with Morning Star for a ransom. The captives were told they would be killed if the demands weren’t met.
There also were touching acts of compassion, Joseph said. When the Taliban released Rafiq and Farzad on the third day, Joseph broke down in sobs at losing their companionship. Wallakah and two other captors dried his tears with their scarves.
Rafiq and Farzad eventually returned safely to their families, Joseph writes.
Shortly after midnight on Dec. 9, Joseph heard gunfire, and the SEALS burst into the house where he and his captors were spending the night.
As his rescuers escorted him out, Joseph saw Wallakah and his other captors lying dead in pools of blood. Outside, one of the SEALS, Nicolas D. Checque of Pennsylvania, lay with his head in bandages.
A helicopter took them to a military base, where Joseph learned Checque had died.
“That will always weigh heavily on me,” Joseph said. “Somebody had to die to rescue me.”
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