Cap­tive for 5 years, U.S.-Cana­dian fam­ily now free

Pak­istan op­er­a­tion lib­er­ates fam­ily

Albuquerque Journal - - NATION & WORLD - BY JILL COLVIN, LOLITA C. BALDOR AND MUNIR AHMED

WASH­ING­TON — Five years af­ter be­ing taken hostage in Afghanistan, an Amer­i­can wo­man and her Cana­dian hus­band are free, along with their three chil­dren, all born in cap­tiv­ity. They were re­leased in a dra­matic con­fronta­tion punc­tu­ated by gun­fire, of­fi­cials said Thurs­day, though the cir­cum­stances were not en­tirely clear.

U.S. of­fi­cials said Pak­istan ac­com­plished the re­lease of Cait­lan Cole­man of Ste­wart­stown, Pa., and her hus­band, Cana­dian Joshua Boyle, who were ab­ducted and held by the Haqqani net­work, which has ties to the Tal­iban and is con­sid­ered a ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion by the United States.

Cole­man was preg­nant when ab­ducted and gave birth to her three chil­dren while a cap­tive, of­fi­cials said.

“To­day they are free,” Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said in a state­ment, cred­it­ing the U.S. govern­ment with se­cur­ing the re­lease “work­ing in con­junc­tion with the Govern­ment of Pak­istan.”

Trump later praised Pak­istan for its will­ing­ness to “do more to pro­vide se­cu­rity in the re­gion.”

The Pak­istani mil­i­tary said the fam­ily had been freed in “an in­tel­li­gence-based op­er­a­tion by Pak­istan troops” af­ter they crossed the border from Afghanistan.

Boyle and the High Com­mis­sioner for Pak­istan to Canada de­scribed a scene in which gun­shots rang out as Boyle, his wife and their chil­dren were in­ter­cepted by Pak­istani forces while be­ing trans­ported in the trunk of their cap­tors’ car. Boyle told his par­ents there’d been a shootout and that the last words he’d heard from the kid­nap­pers were “kill the hostage,” his fa­ther, Pa­trick, told The Toronto Star af­ter speak­ing with his son. Three of­fi­cials said the con­fronta­tion hap­pened in the Nawa Kili area of the district of Ko­hat in north­west Pak­istan.

The high com­mis­sioner, Tariq Azim Khan, said, “We know there was a shootout, and Pak­istan com­man­dos car­ried out an at­tack and res­cued the hostages.”

The Pak­istani mil­i­tary said early Thurs­day the fam­ily was “be­ing repa­tri­ated to the coun­try of their ori­gin.”

But as of Thurs­day mid­day, the fam­ily’s pre­cise where­abouts were un­clear and it was not im­me­di­ately known when they would re­turn to North Amer­ica. The fam­ily was not in U.S. cus­tody, though they were to­gether in a safe, undis­closed lo­ca­tion in Pak­istan, ac­cord­ing to a U.S. na­tional se­cu­rity of­fi­cial.

A U.S. mil­i­tary of­fi­cial said that a mil­i­tary hostage team had flown to Pak­istan Wed­nes­day, pre­pared to fly the fam­ily out. The team did a pre­lim­i­nary health as­sess­ment of the fam­ily and had a trans­port plane ready to go. But some­time af­ter day­break there, as the fam­ily mem­bers were walk­ing to the plane, Boyle said he did not want to board.

An­other U.S. of­fi­cial said Boyle was ner­vous about be­ing in “cus­tody” given his back­ground.

Boyle was once mar­ried to Zaynab Khadr, the older sis­ter of for­mer Guan­tanamo Bay de­tainee Omar Khadr and the daugh­ter of a late se­nior al-Qaida fi­nancier. Her fa­ther, Ahmed Said Khadr, and the fam­ily stayed with Osama bin Laden briefly when Omar Khadr was a boy.

The Cana­dian-born Omar Khadr was 15 when he was cap­tured by U.S. troops af­ter a fire­fight at a sus­pected al-Qaida com­pound. He was taken to Guan­tanamo and charged with war crimes by a mil­i­tary com­mis­sion.

Of­fi­cials had dis­counted a link between that back­ground and Boyle’s cap­ture, de­scrib­ing it in 2014 as a “hor­ri­ble co­in­ci­dence.”

SOURCE: TAL­IBAN ME­DIA

U.S. of­fi­cials say Pak­istan has se­cured the re­lease of Cait­lan Cole­man of Ste­wart­stown, Pa., and her Cana­dian hus­band, Joshua Boyle, who were ab­ducted five years ago. They had 3 kids in cap­tiv­ity.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.