Pakistan 'frees' Taliban hostage family

13 October, 2017, 14:35 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Taliban

Pakistani soldiers have freed a North American family of five who were being held hostage by the Afghan Taliban, Pakistan's military says.

Pakistan's Armed Forces said in a statement on Thursday that USA intelligences had been tracking the family and their kidnappers as they entered Pakistan from Afghanistan on Wednesday.

Canadian Joshua Boyle and his American wife Caitlan Coleman were kidnapped by the Afghan Taliban during a backpacking trip in Afghanistan 2012, and are believed to have had at least two children while in captivity.

Coleman was abducted five years ago while traveling in Afghanistan with her husband. "The United States government, working in conjunction with the Government of Pakistan, secured the release of the Boyle-Coleman family from captivity in Pakistan", Mr Trump said. Boyle's parents said he told them by phone he would see them in a couple of days.

USA officials expressed hope that the hostages' freedom could represent a turning point in relations between Pakistan and the United States, uneasy allies in fighting Taliban and other Islamist extremists in the region.

"The Pakistani government´s cooperation is a sign that it is honoring America´s wish that it do more to provide security in the region", Trump told reporters.

Boyle says the last thing he heard from his captors while the family was in the trunk of a vehicle during a firefight was "kill the hostages". "It was wonderful. He told us how much his children were looking forward meeting their grandparents", his mother, Linda Boyle, said.

Declining to discuss US intelligence in detail that was shared with Pakistan, they said the United States had been tracking cars capable of holding six or more people moving from place to place, which analysts had concluded were suggestive of moving hostages.

A U.S. military official said American forces were not involved in any rescue, but that a medical team had been able to meet the family and stood ready to fly them home if needed. Thursday's statements from Islamabad and Washington were the first mention of a third child.

The family was rescued on Thursday after Pakistani security forces ambushed their captors.

The Pakistan Army says it has recovered a Canadian, his US National wife and their three children from "terrorist custody" after receiving intelligence from US officials.

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Boyle was once married to Zaynab Khadr, the older sister of former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr and the daughter of a late senior al-Qaida financier. "We are prepared to bring them back home", the official said.

Coleman's parents have said they last heard from their son-in-law in October 2012 from an internet cafe in what Boyle described as an "unsafe" part of Afghanistan.

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