WASHINGTON, DC – President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta today paid tribute to the special operations service member killed in the rescue of an American in eastern Afghanistan yesterday.
The Taliban abducted the man Dec. 5 near the Sarobi district of Afghanistan’s Kabul province. His name is being withheld.
Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, the NATO and U.S. commander in Afghanistan, ordered the rescue when intelligence indicated the man was in imminent danger of injury or death. ISAF officials said it was a joint U.S.-Afghan rescue.
An American special operator was killed during the rescue mission.
Obama said the rescue was characteristic of the extraordinary courage, skill and patriotism that U.S. troops show every day. “Tragically, we lost one of our special operators in this effort,” the president said in a written statement. “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.”
Panetta also issued a statement commending the U.S special operations team for the rescue and extending his condolences to the family, teammates and friends of the fallen warrior.
“The special operators who conducted this raid knew they were putting their lives on the line to free a fellow American from the enemy’s grip,” Panetta said. “They put the safety of another American ahead of their own, as so many of our brave warriors do every day and every night.
“In this fallen hero, and all of our special operators,” he continued, “Americans see the highest ideals of citizenship, sacrifice and service upheld. The torch of freedom burns brighter because of them.”