American-Canadian Family of 5 Held Captive by Taliban-Linked Group in Pakistan Released
An American woman, her Canadian husband and their three children — all of whom were born in captivity — were rescued Wednesday after five years in terrorist custody.
According to the Associated Press, Pakistan secured the release of Caitlan Coleman and her husband, Joshua Boyle.
“All hostages were recovered safe and sound and are being repatriated to the country of their origin,” the Pakistan military said in a statement, according to the outlet.
Boyle’s father, Patrick Boyle, also confirmed the news to CBC, saying, “We can confirm Josh and family have been freed.”
The couple was abducted in 2012 while traveling in Afghanistan and have been held by the Haqqani network, a network with ties to the Taliban, in Pakistan, AP reports.
Coleman’s parents last heard from Boyle on Oct. 8, 2012, from an Internet cafe in what their son-in-law described as an “unsafe” part of Afghanistan.
Coleman was seven months pregnant at the time of her abduction and gave birth three times while in captivity.
The family appeared in several videos in which they pleaded for help from the U.S. government. A video sent to their families last January showed the couple’s 4-year old son dressed in dirty clothing and sitting on his father’s lap, according to ABC News. Boyle said the conditions of their captivity had improved around the beginning of the year, and he even made some jokes.
President Donald Trump appeared to hint at the news during a speech in Coleman’s home state of Pennsylvania on Wednesday.
“America is being respected again. Something happened today, where a country that totally disrespected us called with some very, very important news,” Trump said, according to the White House. “And one of my generals came in, they said, ‘You know, I have to tell you, a year ago they would’ve never done that.’ It was a great sign of respect. You’ll probably be hearing about it over the next few days. But this is a country that did not respect us. This is a country that respects us now. The world is starting to respect us again, believe me.”
In an official statement released Thursday, Trump said, “Today they are free. This is 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. 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.”