HE’S HOME ‘FLEE’
Tali-captive won't fly to US
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.