U.S. woman, family rescued from militants
The Pakistani army says it has rescued an American woman, her Canadian husband and their three young children from captivity by a militant network linked to the Taliban.
ISLAMABAD — The Pakistani army said Thursday that it had rescued an American woman, her Canadian husband and their three young children from captivity by a militant network linked to the Taliban.
Pakistani officials said the army and intelligence agencies conducted the rescue operation based on intelligence provided by American authorities, delivering a boost to flagging relations between the U.S. and Pakistan.
Officials identified the rescued couple as Caitlan Coleman of Stewartstown, Pa., and her Canadian husband, Joshua Boyle. They disappeared five years ago while traveling in a mountainous area near Kabul, Afghanistan, during a backpacking trip through Central Asia.
Coleman was pregnant at the time. The couple had three children while in captivity.
“All hostages were recovered safe and sound and are being repatriated to their country of origin,” the Pakistani army said in a statement.
U.S. intelligence agencies had been tracking the whereabouts of the hostages and informed Pakistan that they had been brought from Afghanistan into the Kurram tribal area on Wednesday, Pakistani officials said. The rescue operation was mobilized quickly due to close links between U.S. and Pakistani intelligence officials.
The Haqqani network is a militant group aligned with the Taliban that has battled the U.S. military in Afghanistan for years and frequently targets Westerners. The group held U.S. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl captive for five years before he was released in 2014 as part of a prisoner swap for five Taliban detainees.
Coleman, Boyle and their children appeared in hostage videos several times, most recently in December 2016.
The rescue operation could help improve U.S.-Pakistani relations, which have suffered as President Donald Trump blames Pakistan for contributing to instability in Afghanistan. Trump has called on Pakistan to crack down on militant groups operating from its territory and angered Islamabad by inviting its rival, India, to play a greater role in the Afghan war.
Joshua Boyle and Caitlan Coleman appeared in hostage videos before being rescued by the Pakistani army.