5 western hostages re­cov­ered from ter­ror­ists af­ter 5 yrs: Pak Army

The Hitavada - - HOME & ABROAD - ■ By Sa­j­jad Hus­sain and Lalit K Jha

A FAM­ILY of five Western hostages, in­clud­ing three chil­dren, were re­cov­ered af­ter five years of their ab­duc­tion by ter­ror­ists with ties to the Afghan Tal­iban in an op­er­a­tion based on In­tel­li­gence shared by the US, the Pak­istan Army said on Thurs­day.

“Pak­istan Army and ISI re­cov­ered 5 Western hostages in­clud­ing 1 Cana­dian, his US Na­tional wife and their three chil­dren from ter­ror­ist cus­tody through an In­tel­li­gence based op­er­a­tion by Pak­istan troops and in­tel­li­gence agen­cies,” the Army said in a state­ment.

It said the US In­tel­li­gence agen­cies had been track­ing the hostages and shared their lo­ca­tion when they were shifted to Pak­istan through border of Kur­ram tribal district on Wed­nes­day.

The op­er­a­tion by Pak­istani forces, based on ac­tion­able in­tel­li­gence from US au­thor­i­ties, was suc­cess­ful and all hostages were re­cov­ered safe and sound and are be­ing repa­tri­ated to the coun­try of their ori­gin, it added.

In Wash­ing­ton, US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump hailed the re­lease of the hostages from Tal­iban cap­tiv­ity and iden­ti­fied the kid­napped cou­ple as Cait­lan Cole­man and Joshua Boyle.

He said their re­lease was a “pos­i­tive mo­ment” for US re­la­tions with Pak­istan.

“The United States Govern­ment, work­ing in con­junc­tion with the Govern­ment of Pak­istan, se­cured the re­lease of the Boyle-Cole­man fam­ily from cap­tiv­ity in Pak­istan,” Trump said.

Cait­lan Cole­man, an Amer­i­can cit­i­zen, and her hus­band Joshua Boyle, a Cana­dian cit­i­zen, were kid­napped in 2012 in Afghanistan while on a back­pack­ing trip.

Cole­man, 31, was preg­nant at the time of ab­duc­tion. All the three chil­dren were born in cap­tiv­ity. “Cole­man gave birth to the cou­ple’s three chil­dren while they were in cap­tiv­ity,” Trump said in a White House state­ment. “To­day, they are free.”

He said 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 counter-ter­ror­ism op­er­a­tions,” Trump said.

US Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son too wel­comed the de­vel­op­ment.

In a state­ment, Tiller­son ex­pressed his deep grat­i­tude to the Pak­istan Govern­ment and the Pak­istani Army for their co­op­er­a­tion.

Trump’s new South Asia strat­egy recog­nises the im­por­tant role Pak­istan needs to play to bring sta­bil­ity and ul­ti­mately peace to the re­gion, he said.

“The United States is hope­ful that Pak­istan’s ac­tions will fur­ther a US-Pak­istan re­la­tion­ship marked by grow­ing com­mit­ments to counter-ter­ror­ism op­er­a­tions and stronger ties in all other re­spects,” Tiller­son said.

The Pak­istan Army said 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 hostages “are be­ing repa­tri­ated to their coun­try of ori­gin.”

The Afghan Tal­iban last year re­leased a video that showed the fam­ily, in­clud­ing two young boys.

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