An American woman, her Canadian husband, and their three children were freed from captivity on Wednesday after being held hostage by Islamic militants in Pakistan for five years, officials announced.
Caitlan Coleman and her husband, Joshua Boyle, awere taken captive in 2012 while traveling in a mountainous part of Afghanistan, near Kabul. The pair were held hostage by the Haqqani network, an organization with ties to the Taliban.
Coleman was pregnant at the time they were captured and gave birth to the couple’s three children while they were held.
The Coleman-Boyle family had appeared in multiple hostage videos over the years. In December of 2016, Coleman asked the US government to save them from their “Kafkaesque nightmare.”
“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.”
In a statement, the Pakistani army said that “all hostages were recovered safe and sound and are being repatriated to the country of their origin.”
US intelligence agencies had been tracking the family and shared their shifting movements across Pakistan, according to Pakistani army officials. The operation was carried out by Pakistani forces, based on actionable US intelligence.
“The success underscores the importance of timely intelligence sharing and Pakistan’s continued commitment towards fighting this menace through cooperation between two forces against a common enemy,” the Pakistani army said.
Trump said the release “is a positive moment for our country’s relationship with Pakistan.”
“The Pakistani government’s cooperation is a sign that it is honoring America’s wishes for it to do more to provide security in the region,” he said. “We hope to see this type of cooperation and teamwork in helping secure the release of remaining hostages and in our future joint counterterrorism operations.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson praised US Ambassador Hale and his team for their engagement with Pakistan in a statement and said “these efforts reflect the best of what America can accomplish.”
Tillerson said the president’s new strategy in South Asia recognizes the important role Pakistan needs to play to bring “stability and ultimately peace” to the region.
“The United States is hopeful that Pakistan’s actions will further a U.S.-Pakistan relationship marked by growing commitments to counterterrorism operations and stronger ties in all other respects,” he said in the statement.
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Cora Lewis is a business reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Lewis reports on labor.
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