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Donald Trump hails Pakistan’s role in rescue of kidnapped family

World News | Published:

An American woman, her Canadian husband and their three young children have been released after years of being held captive.

An American woman, her Canadian husband and their three young children have been released after years held captive by a network with ties to the Taliban, US and Pakistani officials said.

Pakistan secured the release of Caitlan Coleman and her husband, Canadian Joshua Boyle, who were abducted five years ago while travelling in Afghanistan and had been held by the Haqqani network in Pakistan.

Ms Coleman, from Pennsylvania, was pregnant when she was captured.

Patrick Boyle, Linda Boyle, Lyn Coleman and Jim Coleman
Patrick Boyle, Linda Boyle, Lyn Coleman and Jim Coleman hold a photo of their kidnapped children (Bill Gorman/AP)

The couple had three children while in captivity, and all have been freed, US officials said.

President Donald Trump called Thursday’s development a “positive moment” for US relations with Pakistan.

He said Pakistan’s “cooperation is a sign that it is honouring America’s wishes for it to do more to provide security in the region”.

The kidnapped couple and one of their children
A Pakistani channel broadcasts a report about the kidnapped couple (B.K. Bangash/AP)

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Mr Trump said the US hopes “to see this type of cooperation and teamwork in helping secure the release of remaining hostages and in our future joint counterterrorism operations”.

The US has long criticised Pakistan for failing to aggressively go after the Haqqanis, who have been behind many attacks against US and allied forces in Afghanistan.

In Pakistan, its military said in a statement that US intelligence agencies had been tracking the hostages and discovered they had come into Pakistan on October 11 through its tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

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“All hostages were recovered safe and sound and are being repatriated to the country of their origin,” the military said.

The release, which came together rapidly on Wednesday, comes nearly five years to the day since Ms Coleman and Mr Boyle lost touch with their families while travelling in a mountainous region near the Afghan capital, Kabul.

The couple set off in the summer 2012 for a journey that took them to Russia, the central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and then to Afghanistan.

Ms Coleman’s parents last heard from their son-in-law on October 8 2012, from an internet cafe in what Mr Boyle described as an “unsafe” part of Afghanistan.

In 2013, the couple appeared in two videos asking the US government to free them from the Taliban.

Ms Coleman’s parents, Jim and Lyn Coleman, told the online Circa News service in July 2016 that they received a letter from their daughter in November 2015, in which she wrote that she had given birth to a second child in captivity.

It was unclear whether they knew she had had a third.

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