Pakistan frees American family kidnapped five years ago

Kidnapped Canadian Joshua Boyle and American Caitlan Coleman in an undated image.
Kidnapped Canadian Joshua Boyle and American Caitlan Coleman in an undated image. Uncredited

PAKISTANI forces have rescued an American woman and her family who had been held by a Pakistan-based militant group for five years.

The release of Caitlan Coleman, her husband and three children reportedly took place after US officials provided new intelligence on the family's location to Pakistan's government.

Ms Coleman, 32, was seven months pregnant when she and her Canadian husband, Josh Boyle, 34, were abducted in Afghanistan 2012 and held by the Haqqani network - a group with ties to the Taliban.

A video broadcast recently showed the couple with three smiling children.

The Toronto Star reported that in a phone call to his parents after his release, Mr Boyle said the family had been in the boot of the kidnappers' car when Pakistani forces rescued them.

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

"The success underscores the importance of timely intelligence sharing and Pakistan's continued commitment towards fighting this menace through co-operation between two forces against a common enemy,” said a statement from the Pakistani military.

US President Donald Trump said it was "a positive moment” for US-Pakistan relations.

"The Pakistani government's co-operation is a sign that it is honouring America's wishes for it to do more to provide security in the region,” he said.

Associated Press said US intelligence told Pakistan on Wednesday the hostages had been moved into north- western Pakistan, according to a statement from the Pakistan military. It did not say when they were rescued.

The Westerners were last seen in a hostage video released in December 2016 pleading for their governments to intervene.

"Please don't become the next Jimmy Carter,” Ms Coleman says in the video, reading a prepared statement and pleading to then-President Barack Obama. "Just give the offenders something so they and you can save face so we can leave the region permanently.”

They vanished after setting off in the summer of 2012 for a journey that took them to Russia, the central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and then to Afghanistan.

At the time they were seized, they were reportedly hiking in Afghanistan's Ghazni province.

Ms Coleman's parents, Jim and Lyn Coleman, last heard from their son-in-law on October 8, 2012 from an internet cafe in what Josh described as an "unsafe” part of Afghanistan.

- The Independent

Topics:  canadian haqqani network josh boyle militant group pakistani forces rescue taliban

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