Cana­dian-Amer­i­can fam­ily freed in raid by Pak­istani com­man­dos

Cana­dian man, his U.S. wife and their 3 chil­dren had been held cap­tive for 5 years by group linked to Tal­iban

The Daily Courier - - WORLD -

A Cana­dian man, his Amer­i­can wife and their three young chil­dren born dur­ing the cou­ple’s five years in cap­tiv­ity were freed in a Pak­istani com­mando raid and shootout, au­thor­i­ties an­nounced Thurs­day.

The Pak­istani mil­i­tary said Joshua Boyle, his wife Cait­lan Cole­man and their chil­dren had been freed in “an in­tel­li­gence-based op­er­a­tion” af­ter they’d crossed the border from Afghanistan, where they had been ab­ducted by a group with ties to the Tal­iban.

Tariq Azim Khan, the coun­try’s high com­mis­sioner to Canada, said once the mil­i­tary re­ceived word of the fam­ily’s where­abouts from U.S. in­tel­li­gence au­thor­i­ties, they acted quickly.

Khan de­scribed a dra­matic scene in which gun­shots rang out as the fam­ily was in­ter­cepted by Pak­istani forces while be­ing trans­ported by their cap­tors in the trunk of a van.

In­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials in Pak­istan said the con­fronta­tion hap­pened near a road cross­ing in the Nawa Kili area of the district of Ko­hat in north­west Pak­istan.

“We know there was a shootout and Pak­istan com­man­dos car­ried out an at­tack and res­cued the hostages,” Khan said from Lon­don.

Canada’s For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Chrys­tia Free­land, who has met with the Boyle fam­ily in the past, said they had en­dured an “ab­so­lutely hor­ri­ble or­deal.” Free­land re­fused to de­scribe the cir­cum­stances of the re­lease, cit­ing se­cu­rity rea­sons, but said Canada had been work­ing with the U.S., Pak­istan and Afghanistan, whom she thanked.

“We all have to re­ally re­mem­ber what a trau­matic ex­pe­ri­ence this fam­ily has gone through — re­ally un­speak­able,” Free­land said in Mex­ico City.

Boyle and Cole­man, who was preg­nant at the time of the ab­duc­tion, were held by the Haqqani net­work, a group U.S. of­fi­cials call a ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Boyle’s par­ents, who live in Smiths Falls, Ont., say their son and his fam­ily want to come to Canada.

“The fam­ily has cho­sen Canada,” Pa­trick Boyle said Thurs­day evening. “We’re hop­ing to know our­selves when we get to go pick them up.”

The fam­ily was in a safe place in Pak­istan but ex­hausted, Pa­trick Boyle said.

“We just spoke to them again re­cently, Boyle said. “He (Joshua) said they’ve all been up since Tues­day so he was very pleased, he’s run­ning on empty.

“They’re await­ing con­fir­ma­tion on which flight they’re re­turn­ing on and for us to pick them up.”

The cou­ple told U.S. of­fi­cials that they wanted to fly com­mer­cially to Canada, Pa­trick Boyle told re­porters.

Cole­man’s par­ents, mean­while, posted a state­ment on the door of their Penn­syl­va­nia home say­ing they ap­pre­ci­ated “all the in­ter­est and con­cern be­ing ex­pressed at the joy­ful news that Caity, Josh and our grand­chil­dren have been re­leased af­ter five long years of cap­tiv­ity.”

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