Father of freed Taliban hostage: 'He wants to be home'

13 October, 2017, 15:03 | Author: Lula Armstrong
  • American hostage Caitlan Coleman, family rescued in Pakistan after years of captivity

The last known footage of Joshua Boyle and Caitlan Coleman surfaced in December a year ago when they appeared in video urging their governments to secure their release.

A United States military official said American forces were not involved in any rescue, but that a medical team had been able to meet the family and stood ready to fly them home if needed. "His last words were, 'I'll see you in a couple days, Mom", Linda Boyle said.

In a statement released on Thursday in Ottawa, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said that the Canadian government was relieved that the Boyle family was released and thanked the US, Afghanistan and Pakistan for their joint efforts in the rescue mission.

A US government source in Washington also said there was no indication the family had been in Afghanistan.

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U.S. intelligence services had been tracking the movement of the hostages and informed their Pakistani partners when the hostages were moved across the Pak-Afghan border into Kurram Agency on October 11, 2017.

Pakistan Army announced on Thursday the hostages had been "recovered. from terrorist custody through an intelligence-based operation by Pakistani troops".

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 early Thursday rescue operation "by Pakistani forces, based on actionable intelligence from USA authorities was successful".

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

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They vanished after setting off in the summer of 2012 for a journey that took them to Russian Federation, the central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and then to Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is rife with militants and organised criminal gangs who stage kidnappings for ransom, often targeting foreigners and wealthy Afghans, who are said to have been ferried over the border into Pakistan's tribal belt.

Boyle reportedly told his parents that he and his family were in the trunk of a auto when they were rescued during a shoot-out that left the captors dead and Boyle injured with minor shrapnel wounds.

Taliban sources said the family spent most of their captivity at Haqqani strongholds inside Pakistan, and not in Afghanistan as early Pakistani reports had indicated.

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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.

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