Fam­ily held cap­tive re­leased by group linked to Tal­iban

Rome News-Tribune - - CLASSIFIEDS - As­so­ci­ated Press

— An Amer­i­can wo­man, her Cana­dian hus­band and their three young chil­dren have been re­leased af­ter years of be­ing held cap­tive by a group with ties to the Tal­iban and called a ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion by the United States, Amer­i­can and Pak­istani of­fi­cials said Thurs­day.

U.S. of­fi­cials said Pak­istan se­cured the re­lease of Cait­lan Cole­man of Ste­wart­stown, Penn­syl­va­nia, and her hus­band, Cana­dian Joshua Boyle, who were ab­ducted five years ago while trav­el­ing in Afghanistan and had been held by the Haqqani net­work.

Cole­man was preg­nant when she was cap­tured. The cou­ple had three chil­dren while in cap­tiv­ity, and all have been freed, U.S. of­fi­cials said.

“Yes­ter­day, the United States govern­ment, work­ing in con­junc­tion with the Govern­ment of Pak­istan, se­cured the re­lease of the Boyle-Cole­man fam­ily from cap­tiv­ity in Pak­istan,” Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said in a state­ment. “To­day they are free.”

Trump later praised Pak­istan for its will­ing­ness to “do more to pro­vide se­cu­rity in the re­gion” and said he re­lease sug­gests other “coun­tries are start­ing to re­spect the United States of Amer­ica once again.”

The Pak­istani mil­i­tary con­firmed the re­lease and said the fam­ily was “be­ing repa­tri­ated to the coun­try of their ori­gin.”

But as of Thurs­day morn­ing, 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, but undis­closed, lo­ca­tion in Pak­istan, ac­cord­ing to a U.S. na­tional se­cu­rity of­fi­cial, who wasn’t au­tho­rized to dis­cuss the case pub­licly and spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity.

U.S. of­fi­cials had planned on mov­ing the fam­ily out of Pak­istan on a U.S. trans­port plane, but at the last minute Boyle would not get on, the of­fi­cial said.

An­other U.S. of­fi­cial said Boyle was ner­vous about be­ing in “cus­tody” given his back­ground. Boyle was pre­vi­ously mar­ried to the sis­ter of Omar Khadr, a Cana­dian man who spent 10 years at Guan­tanamo Bay af­ter be­ing cap­tured in 2002 in a fire­fight at an al-Qaida com­pound in Afghanistan.

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

The cou­ple has told U.S. of­fi­cials that they wanted to fly com­mer­cially to Canada, ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause he wasn’t au­tho­rized to speak pub­licly about the sit­u­a­tion.

The re­lease came to­gether rapidly Wed­nes­day. It hap­pened nearly five years to the day since Cole­man and Boyle lost touch with their fam­i­lies while trav­el­ing in a moun­tain­ous re­gion near the Afghan cap­i­tal of Kabul.

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