Word has leaked that U.S. special operators got the green light to rescue two American university professors. Apparently, after a firefight that left seven enemy fighters dead, the hostages weren’t found. Finding hostages in a foreign country is no easy task.

Our team was tasked with a couple of short-notice missions much like this, and although killing bad guys is great, you always want to find your dudes. The Fox News article goes on to explain there had been a previous, aborted attempt to rescue the American and Australian nationals. Often, if you don’t act right away on your intel, as shaky as it can be, the hostages get moved and you start all over again. To say that’s frustrating is an egregious understatement.

Per Fox News:

U.S. special operations forces mounted an unsuccessful mission to rescue two American University of Afghanistan professors kidnapped in Kabul last month — after an earlier mission was aborted when the White House withheld its approval — defense officials with knowledge of the incident told Fox News.

Fox News is told the operation, which took place a few days after their Aug. 7 kidnapping, killed seven enemy fighters. But when the firefight ended, there was no sign of the hostages.

One of the hostages is American; the other is Australian.

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It was not the first attempt by the U.S. military to rescue the two professors.

The first mission was aborted when the American rescue force could not obtain White House approval for the mission amid concerns about the intelligence, according to three defense officials. They were in the air heading to the target area at the time and had to return to their base in Afghanistan.

When approval was granted by President Obama the next day, the American assault force headed back to the area where they believed the two hostages were being held and engaged an enemy force at a compound believed to contain the hostages.

“It didn’t go the way it was supposed to go,” said one official.

Knowing what those operators just went through, I’m sure they’re chomping at the bit to get another chance.

More about the initial kidnapping here and here.

Image courtesy of USAID Afghanistan