Pakistan rescues kidnapped family

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In this undated video grab provided by Site Intelligence Group and released by AFP on October 12, 2017, hostages, American Caitlan Coleman (L) and her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle, speak to the camera holding their children in an undisclosed location. AFP/SITE Intelligence Group

ISLAMABAD (Agencies) – Pakistan’s army said yesterday it had rescued a kidnapped US-Canadian couple and their three children after receiving intelligence from the United States, nearly five years after the couple was abducted in Afghanistan.

American Caitlan Coleman, her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle and the children born in captivity were believed to be held by the Taliban-allied Haqqani network, which the United States has long accused Pakistan of not doing enough to fight.

Ms Coleman and Mr Boyle were kidnapped while backpacking in Afghanistan in 2012. Ms Coleman was pregnant at the time, and a video released by the Taliban in December showed their two sons born while they were hostages.

Yesterday’s statement was the first mention of a third child.

US President Donald Trump said: “Ms Coleman gave birth to the couple’s three children while they were in captivity. Today, they are free.”

The rescue came as Pakistan and the US, uneasy allies in fighting Taliban and other Islamist extremists in the region, are experiencing one of the worst lows in relations.

Mr Trump said said the release was a “positive moment” for US relations with Pakistan.

Pakistan touted the success of the operation as proof of the strength of the alliance. “The success underscores the importance of timely intelligence sharing and Pakistan’s continued commitment towards fighting this menace through cooperation between two forces against a common enemy,” the Pakistani army statement said. The family were released from “terrorist custody”.

US intelligence agencies had been tracking the hostages and on Wednesday shared that they family had been moved across to Pakistan through Kurram tribal area border, the army said.

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