Pakistan frees American family kidnapped five years ago


The American-Canadian family that was freed from Taliban captivity by Pakistan Army boarded a flight to Canada on Friday, Geo News reported citing airport sources.

The last known footage of Joshua Boyle and Caitlan Coleman surfaced in December previous year when they appeared in video urging their governments to secure their release. US officials did not confirm the details.

The family's rescue has been hailed by U.S. President Donald Trump as a "positive moment" for U.S. -Pakistan relations, which have frayed in recent years amid Washington's assertions that Islamabad was not doing enough to tackle Haqqani militants who are believed to be on Pakistani soil. "It was unbelievable. He told us how much his children were looking forward meeting their grandparents", his mother, Linda Boyle, said.

Boyle's sister, Kaeryn, told Xinhua that "We're really glad that they're free".

He said there had been a shootout and the last words he heard from the kidnappers were "kill the hostages".

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After the release of the family, they emphasized the importance of co-operation and intelligence sharing by Washington, which has threatened to cut military aid and other punitive measures against Pakistan.

The couple were kidnapped in Afghanistan in 2012, and USA intelligence on Wednesday told Pakistan that the hostages had been moved over the border into northwestern Pakistan, according to an army statement.

The United States believed the hostages were probably held by the Haqqani group in or near its headquarters in northwestern Pakistan the entire time, two other USA officials said.

"US intelligence agencies had been tracking them and shared their shifting across to Pakistan on October 11, through the Kurram Agency border", the ISPR said. "We stand ready to support them as they begin their healing journey", Freeland said.

Coleman was pregnant at the time she was kidnapped, and a video released by the Taliban in December showed two sons born while she and her husband were hostages.

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Thursday's statement from the Pakistani army was the first mention of a third child.

The media wing of Pakistan Army announced on Thursday that they rescued five foreigners held captive by Taliban some five years back.

Tillerson in a statement said Trump's strategy in the region recognised "the important role Pakistan needs to play to bring stability and ultimately peace to the region".

According to a White House statement also issued on Thursday, Trump said that the United States in cooperation with Pakistan secured the release of the Boyle-Coleman family from captivity in Pakistan.

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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