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Pakistan Says Canadian-American Family Freed From Taliban Captivity


A video posted by the Taliban on social media on December 19, 2016 shows American Caitlan Coleman (left) speaking next to her Canadian husband, Joshua Boyle, and their two sons.

The Pakistani military says it has rescued a North American family of five who was being held hostage for nearly five years.

"Pak Army recovered five Western hostages including one Canadian, his U.S. national wife, and their three children from terrorist custody," an army statement said on October 12.

It did not name the family, but U.S. President Donald Trump later said in a statement that Caitlan Coleman, her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle, and their three children were released.

"Yesterday, the United States government, working in conjunction with the Government of Pakistan, secured the release of the Boyle-Coleman family from captivity in Pakistan," he said.

Pakistan's army said U.S. intelligence agencies had been tracking the family in Afghanistan and that they moved across the border into Kurram on October 11.

Boyle and Coleman were kidnapped while backpacking in Afghanistan in 2012. Coleman gave birth to the couple's three children while in captivity.

The Afghan Taliban-aligned Haqqani network released videos of the couple during their captivity.

The latest video, which was released in December 2016, showed the couple with two young boys. In it, Coleman, who was pregnant when she was abducted, begged for an end to their "Kafkaesque nightmare."

The Haqqani network has been demanding the release of three of its prisoners in Afghanistan.

The release of the family from custody comes as relations between Washington and Islamabad are at a low point.

The United States has accused Pakistan of not doing enough to counter Islamist militants who operate across its border with Afghanistan -- an accusation rejected by Islamabad.

Pakistan's army said that the success of the operation "underscores the importance of timely intelligence sharing and Pakistan's continued commitment toward fighting this menace through cooperation between two forces against a common enemy."

Trump called the family’s release "a positive moment for our country's relationship with Pakistan."

"The Pakistani government's cooperation is a sign that it is honoring America's wishes for it to do more to provide security in the region," he said in his statement. "We hope to see this type of cooperation and teamwork in helping secure the release of remaining hostages and in our future joint counterterrorism operations.

With reporting by Reuters, dpa, and the BBC
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