A US special forces commando was killed during a mission in Afghanistan that succeeded in rescuing a kidnapped American doctor, the White House said Sunday.
President Barack Obama said that in carrying out the raid in eastern Afghanistan the commando team had shown "the selfless service that allows our nation to stay strong, safe and free."
The US soldiers killed seven Taliban insurgents in the pre-dawn raid Sunday, launched when intelligence showed that the hostage, Dilip Joseph, was in "imminent danger of injury or death", NATO's International Security Assistance Force said in a statement.
Joseph had been abducted on December 5 by Taliban insurgents in the Surobi district of Kabul province.
Obama said the rescue mission "was characteristic of the extraordinary courage, skill and patriotism that our troops show every day."
He offered thoughts and prayers to the family of the fallen commando, who was not identified in the statement.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also offered his condolences, in a separate statement, saying the commando and his teammates were aware of the risks, but went ahead anyway.
"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 order to "free a fellow American from the enemy's grip."
NATO said the rescued doctor was undergoing evaluations, but would soon be rejoining his family and loved ones.
Westerners are a prize target for the Taliban Islamists, who have waged an 11-year insurgency since being toppled from power in a US-led invasion in 2001.