Tali-cap­tive won't fly to US

New York Post - - NEWS - By BOB FRED­ER­ICKS With Reuters

Pres­i­dent Trump on Thurs­day hailed the res­cue of a US-Cana­dian cou­ple and their kids who were held cap­tive in Afghanistan for five years — but the dad re­fused to board a US mil­i­tary plane for fear he would be pun­ished over his first mar­riage to a ter­ror­ist sym­pa­thizer.

“Yes­ter­day, the United States govern­ment, work­ing with the govern­ment of Pak­istan, se­cured the re­lease of Cait­lan Cole­man, Joshua Boyle and their three chil­dren from cap­tiv­ity from the Haqqani net­work, a ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion with ties to the Tal­iban,” the pres­i­dent said from the White House.

Their re­lease, he said, demon­strates that for­eign na­tions have be­come more co­op­er­a­tive with the US since he vowed to take a tougher stance against coun­tries that don’t ag­gres­sively pur­sue ter­ror­ists.

“The Pak­istani govern­ment’s co­op­er­a­tion is a sign that it is hon­or­ing Amer­ica’s wish that it do more to pro­vide se­cu­rity in the re­gion,” he said.

Cole­man, an Amer­i­can, and her Cana­dian hus­band were snatched while back­pack­ing in Afghanistan in 2012 by the Haqqani net­work.

The Pak­istani army said its forces “re­cov­ered” the hostages af­ter act­ing on US in­tel­li­gence about their pas­sage into Pak­istan from Afghanistan.

But Boyle balked when he was of­fered a flight to the US be­cause of his mar­riage to al Qaeda sup­porter Zaynab Khadr, the older sis­ter of Omar Khadr, who was im­pris­oned at Guan­tanamo Bay from 2002 to 2010 for war crimes.

They were mar­ried in 2009 and 2010. He mar­ried Cole­man in 2012 af­ter split­ting with Khadr.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said that troops had given Boyle and Cole­man the op­tion of go­ing ei­ther to Canada or the US. He did not con­firm whether or not they have yet left Pak­istan.

Cole­man was preg­nant at the time she was kid­napped, and a video re­leased by the Tal­iban in De­cem­ber showed two sons born while she and her hus­band were hostages.

The Pak­istani ef­fort came as Pak­istan and the US, un­easy al­lies in fight­ing Tal­iban and other Is­lamist ex­trem­ists in the re­gion, are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing one of the worst lows in their re­la­tions.

In re­cent days, se­nior US of­fi­cials have been more pointed about Islamabad’s al­leged ties to mil­i­tant groups, who are bat­tling the US and Amer­i­can-backed forces in neigh­bor­ing Afghanistan.

Last week, De­fense Sec­re­tary Jim Mat­tis said the US would try “one more time” to work with Pak­istan in Afghanistan be­fore Trump would “take what­ever steps are nec­es­sary” to change Pak­istan’s be­hav­ior.

Pak­istan touted the suc­cess of the op­er­a­tion as proof of the strength of the al­liance.

“The suc­cess un­der­scores the im­por­tance of timely in­tel­li­gence shar­ing and Pak­istan’s con­tin­ued com­mit­ment to­ward fight­ing this men­ace through co­op­er­a­tion between two forces against a com­mon en­emy,” the Pak­istani army said in a state­ment.

SAV­ING GROUSE: Joshua Boyle is held cap­tive with wife Cait­lan Cole­man and their sons in Afghanistan. They were res­cued Wed­nes­day, but Boyle re­fused to go home to the US.

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