‘Freed Taliban hostage family on way to Canada via UK’

Islamabad, Oct 13 (IANS) A Canadian-American family freed from Taliban captivity after five years were on a flight to London on Friday, a Pakistani military source said.

Joshua Boyle, a Canadian, boarded a flight in Islamabad with his American wife Caitlan Coleman and their three children, the military source told CNN. They will fly on to Canada from London, the source said.

An Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement said the hostages were rescued on Thursday “through an intelligence-based operation by Pakistani troops and the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence).”

Boyle and Coleman were held for five years by the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network in Afghanistan. Their three children were born during their time in captivity.

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

US President Donald Trump applauded the development and said that the release was “a positive moment” for the Washington-Islamabad relationship.

He also praised Pakistan’s cooperation, saying it was “a sign that it is honouring America’s wishes for it to do more to provide security in the region”.

Trump voiced his hope to see more of such US-Pakistan cooperation “in helping secure the release of remaining hostages” and “future joint counter-terrorism operations”.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also expressed “his gratitude to his nation’s allies for their help in rescuing a native family from the Taliban who held them hostage since 2012”.

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