NATO raid rescues 4 aid workers in Afghanistan
NATO forces swooped in by helicopter before dawn Saturday to rescue two female foreign aid workers and their two Afghan colleagues who were held by militants for nearly two weeks in a cave in northern Afghanistan.
British Prime Minister David Cameron hailed the "breathtaking" operation, which he approved Friday afternoon after becoming increasingly concerned about the safety of the hostages, one of whom, 28-year-old Helen Johnston, was British.
Johnston was kidnapped along with Moragwe Oirere, a Kenyan, and the two Afghans on May 22 in Badakhshan province. The four work for Medair, a humanitarian non-governmental organization based near Lausanne, Switzerland.
The rescue operation was carried out by British troops in cooperation with other NATO and Afghan forces, Cameron told reporters outside 10 Downing Street in London. He said it was "extraordinarily difficult" to decide to go ahead with the operation, which involved a "long route march" without being discovered.
"It was an extraordinarily brave, breathtaking even, operation that our troops had to carry out," said Cameron. "We will never be able to publish their names but the whole country should know we have an extraordinary group of people who work for us who do amazingly brave things."
All four hostages were rescued safely, no British troops were injured and a number of Taliban militants and kidnappers were killed, said Cameron.