A member of the special operations force SEAL Team Six, the unit that killed Osama bin Laden in May 2011, lost his life in a successful effort to free American doctor Dilip Joseph (pictured below) from the Taliban in the eastern Kabul Province of Afghanistan, reports ABC News.
The SEAL Team Six member was not identified, but he reportedly died today from wounds that happened during the daring rescue.
Dr. Joseph and two colleagues were kidnapped by armed men on Dec. 5, while returning from a visit to a rural medical clinic in Afghanistan.
The three hostages, employed by Morning Star Development in Colorado Springs, Colorado, were taken to an area about 50 miles from the Pakistan border.
On Saturday, two of the three hostages were released, but Dr. Joseph remained in captivity.
According to a military press release, Gen. John R. Allen, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, ordered the rescue mission when "intelligence showed that Joseph was in imminent danger of injury or death."
Dr. Joseph was rescued in good condition but was beaten by his captors, a U.S. Department of Defense official told ABC News.
Morning Star Development released a statement that said in part: "Morning Star Development does state categorically that we paid no ransom, money or other consideration to the captors or anyone else to secure the release of these hostages."
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Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in a statement today: "I was deeply saddened to learn that a U.S. service member was killed in the operation, and I also want to extend my condolences to his family, teammates and friends."
"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. 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, Americans see the highest ideals of citizenship, sacrifice and service upheld. The torch of freedom burns brighter because of them."
President Obama added: "Yesterday, our special operators in Afghanistan rescued an American citizen in a mission that was characteristic of the extraordinary courage, skill and patriotism that our troops show every day."
"Tragically, we lost one of our special operators in this effort. 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."
Dr. Dilip Joseph:
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Editor's Note: The SEAL Team Six member who died from wounds sustained during the rescue of Dr. Joseph has been identified as Petty Officer 1st Class Nicolas Checque, 28, of Monroeville, Pennsylvania, reports ABC News.