U.S. woman, fam­ily rescued from mil­i­tants

Houston Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

SITE In­tel Group via Associated Press

Joshua Boyle and Cait­lan Cole­man ap­peared in hostage videos be­fore be­ing rescued by the Pak­istani army.

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