Canadian-American family kidnapped in 2012 in Afghanistan recovered by Pakistan Army

The Pakistan Army said on Thursday that it had recovered a family of foreign hostages from the captivity of terrorists based on intelligence shared by the United States (US).

An Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement today said the hostages included a Canadian, his American wife, and their three children. The hostages were recovered “through an intelligence-based operation by Pakistani troops.”

“They were captured by terrorists from Afghanistan in 2012 and kept as hostages there,” the ISPR handout said.

“US intelligence agencies had been tracking them and shared their shifting across to Pakistan on Oct 11, 2017, through the Kurram Agency border.”

The operation was conducted by the army “based on actionable intelligence from US authorities.”

The recovered hostages “are being repatriated to their country of origin,” the ISPR said.

Although the names of the recovered hostages have not been revealed by the army’s media wing, they are believed to be Joshua Boyle and Caitlan Coleman, who were kidnapped in Afghanistan in 2012 while on a backpacking trip.

Caitlan Coleman (L), Joshua Boyle (C) and their two sons. ─ Reuters/File
Caitlan Coleman (L), Joshua Boyle (C) and their two sons. ─ Reuters/File

Coleman, 31, was pregnant at the time of abduction. A video released by the Taliban last year showed the kidnapped American-Canadian family, including two young boys who were born into captivity as the family was held by the Haqqani network.

Earlier, two senior Taliban figures based in Afghanistan told Reuters by telephone that the video had been uploaded by the militant group who are fighting to topple the US-backed government in Kabul.

One claimed the video came from the Haqqani network — a close affiliate of the Afghan Taliban — and it had been delivered to both US and Canadian officials before being posted on YouTube.

“The success [of the operation] underscores the importance of timely intelligence sharing and Pakistan’s continued commitment towards fighting this menace [of terrorism] through cooperation between two forces against a common enemy,” the ISPR handout said.

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