Saturday, September 10, 2016

White House refuses to OK rescue of American University professors kidnapped by Taliban

By Jim Emerson, staff writer

Once again U.S. special operations forces attempted to rescue two American University professors kidnapped in Kabul last month.  The Mission was unsuccessful because the White House withheld its approval despite Intelligence reports pinpointing the location at which the  hostages were being held.

The Two professors – one American, the other Australian--were kidnapped during the Taliban attack on the American University. Disguised as police, the attackers killed twelve people and likely kidnaped the educators for ransom. After the release of Bergdahl and the ransom payment to Iran, the Taliban or the Haqqani network seized on the opportunity to grab a few westerners for financial gain.

This was not the first mission involving Special Forces sent to rescue the two professors. The first mission was aborted when the White House refused to approve the operation, even as the teams were heading to the target. Thanks to the White House, the teams had to return to base and wait. According to the official excuse there were concerns that the intelligence presented was not completely firm and there was not consensus among different government agencies. 

Deja Vu
Sound familiar? In 2014 U.S. Special Forces staged an unsuccessful operation to rescue photojournalist James Foley and other Americans being held in Syria by Islamic State militants. The rescue attempt was delayed because the Administration had problems with the intelligence placing American hostages at the particular location. As a result of the delay, the hostages were moved from the known location.  James Foley would lose his life on August 19, 2014

Second Try
The second rescue mission took place a few days after the initial attempt. It focused on a compound near Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan. Seven enemy fighters were killed but the hostages had already been moved to another location. The Special Forces team was forced to return to base empty handed.

It’s likely that the kidnappers had been alerted after the first rescue attempt, perhaps getting information from someone who had been watching the base and reporting daily operations. The delay from the White House provided the terrorists ample time to move the hostages into Pakistan. 

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