Official details car chase that freed US-Canadian family
Couple and children who were kidnapped in 2012 flew out yesterday
Pakistani troops shot out the tyres of a vehicle carrying a kidnapped US-Canadian couple and their children in a raid that led to the family’s release after five years of being held hostage, a Pakistani security official said yesterday. US drones were hovering near the northwestern Pakistani area where American Caitlan Campbell, her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle and their three children, all born in captivity, were freed, another security official said.
Campbell and Boyle were held by the Taliban-linked Haqqani network after being kidnapped while backpacking in Afghanistan, and their rescue marked a rare positive note in oftenfraught US-Pakistan relations.
The family flew out of Pakistan yesterday, according to a Pakistani airport official who saw them. It was not clear whether they were bound for Canada or the United States.
A senior Pakistani security source yesterday detailed how the family were freed following a car chase in the northwestern tribal region bordering Afghanistan. He said Pakistani troops and intelligence agents, acting on a US intelligence tip, zeroed in on a vehicle holding the family as they were being moved into Kurram tribal agency near the town of Kohat, some 60km inside Pakistan.
Agents from Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency and soldiers attempted to intercept the vehicle, but it sped away, according to the security source. “Our troops fired at the vehicle and burst its tyres,” he said, declining to be identified.
The kidnappers managed to escape, the security official added, saying the troops wouldn’t fire at the fleeing captors for fear of harming the hostages. The army recovered the hostages safely from the car.
The family’s rescue has been hailed by US President Donald Trump as a “positive moment” for US-Pakistan relations.