Thursday, 19 July, 2018

Trump thanks Pakistan, after army rescues Canadian couple

Trump thanks Pakistan, after army rescues Canadian couple Trump thanks Pakistan, after army rescues Canadian couple
Melinda Barton | 13 October, 2017, 14:35

A military statement said: "Army (has) recovered five western hostages including one Canadian, his US National wife and their three children from terrorists' custody through an intelligence based operation".

The communiqué said that the operation by Pakistani forces, based on actionable intelligence from U.S. authorities, was successful.

American Caitlan Coleman, her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle and their three children left for Canada on Pakistan International Airlines flight PK785 via United Kingdom, the sources said.

The couple was supposed to return to the that Coleman, then pregnant, could deliver her baby.

The family's rescue has been hailed by U.S. President Donald Trump as a "positive moment" for U.S. -Pakistan relations, which have frayed in recent years amid Washington's assertions that Islamabad was not doing enough to tackle Haqqani militants who are believed to be on Pakistani soil. They became close, and Boyle eventually attended his wedding.

But one US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was no indication that the hostages had been in Afghanistan in the days before they were freed, contrary to the Pakistani account.

The rescue, prompted by a tip from US intelligence officers tracking the family, was announced in a statement Thursday from Pakistan's army.

They would appear sporadically in videos from the Haqqani network over the years, saying their captors had threatened to kill them if the Afghan government would not stop executing Taliban prisoners.

It added that USA intelligence agencies had been tracking the family in Afghanistan, and reported that on 11 October they had moved across the border into the Kurram tribal district of Pakistan.

The sign asked that their privacy be respected while they "make plans for the future".

The last time anyone heard from Coleman, the York County native spoke of the "Kafkaesque nightmare" she and her husband had been trapped in for almost five years. "We are prepared to bring them back home", the official said.

Thursday's statement from the Pakistani army was the first mention of a third child.

The description of the rescued hostages matches that of Canadian Joshua Boyle and American Caitlan Coleman, captured in Afghanistan in 2012.

Some officials said Pakistanis' motive for freeing the hostages may have been political rather than humanitarian, meant to reduce the tensions ahead of upcoming visits by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

Mattis, who last week said the United States would try "one more time" to work with Pakistan in Afghanistan, was upbeat on Thursday.