Fam­ily is free af­ter five years in Tal­iban cap­tiv­ity

Yorkshire Post - - UK & ABROAD - GRACE HAM­MOND NEWS COR­RE­SPON­DENT

AN AMER­I­CAN wo­man, her Cana­dian hus­band and their three young chil­dren have been re­leased af­ter years held cap­tive by a net­work with ties to the Tal­iban, US and Pak­istani of­fi­cials said.

Pak­istan se­cured the re­lease of Cait­lan Cole­man and her hus­band, Cana­dian Joshua Boyle, who were ab­ducted five years ago while trav­el­ling in Afghanistan and had been held by the Haqqani net­work in Pak­istan.

Ms Cole­man, from Penn­syl­va­nia, was preg­nant when she was cap­tured.

The cou­ple had three chil­dren while in cap­tiv­ity, and all have been freed, US of­fi­cials said. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump called the de­vel­op­ment a “pos­i­tive mo­ment” for US re­la­tions with Pak­istan.

He said Pak­istan’s “co­op­er­a­tion is a sign that it is hon­our­ing Amer­ica’s wishes for it to do more to pro­vide se­cu­rity in the re­gion”.

Mr Trump said the US hopes “to see this type of co-op­er­a­tion and team­work in help­ing se­cure the re­lease of re­main­ing hostages and in our fu­ture joint coun­tert­er­ror­ism op­er­a­tions”.

The US has long crit­i­cised Pak­istan for fail­ing to ag­gres­sively go af­ter the Haqqa­nis, who have been be­hind many at­tacks against US and al­lied forces in Afghanistan.

In Pak­istan, its mil­i­tary said US in­tel­li­gence agen­cies had been track­ing the hostages and dis­cov­ered they had come into Pak­istan on Oc­to­ber 11 through its tribal ar­eas bor­der­ing Afghanistan.

“All hostages were re­cov­ered safe and sound and are be­ing repa­tri­ated to the coun­try of their ori­gin,” the mil­i­tary said.

The re­lease, which came to­gether rapidly on Wed­nes­day, comes nearly five years to the day since Ms Cole­man and Mr Boyle lost touch with their fam­i­lies while trav­el­ling in a moun­tain­ous re­gion near the Afghan cap­i­tal, Kabul.

The cou­ple set off in the sum­mer of 2012 for a jour­ney that took them to Rus­sia, the cen­tral Asian coun­tries of Kaza­khstan, Ta­jik­istan and Kyr­gyzs­tan, and then to Afghanistan.

Ms Cole­man’s par­ents last heard from their son-in-law on Oc­to­ber 8, 2012, from an in­ter­net cafe in what Mr Boyle de­scribed as an “un­safe” part of Afghanistan. In 2013, the cou­ple ap­peared in two videos ask­ing the US govern­ment to free them from the Tal­iban.

The dev­as­ta­tion left by wild­fires in Santa Rosa, Cal­i­for­nia. Tens of thou­sands have been driven from their homes as fires burn out of con­trol in the US state.

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