US-Canadian family freed from terror group after five years of horror

Published: 13 October 2017


A kidnapped couple and their three children born in captivity have been freed in Pakistan, nearly five years after they were abducted in Afghanistan.

American Caitlan Coleman and Canadian Joshua Boyle were kidnapped while travelling in Afghanistan in 2012 by the Taliban-linked Haqqani group.

Ms Coleman was pregnant when she was captured, and has had three children while in captivity.

The rescue came after the US tipped off Pakistani officials about the hostages’ location.

US President Donald Trump praised Pakistan’s cooperation with the US over the freeing of the hostages.

“The Pakistani government’s cooperation is a sign that it is honouring America’s wishes for it to do more to provide security in the region,” he said.

It’s unclear how the family were rescued by Pakistani authorities, and they are believed to still be in Pakistan.

US Officials did not immediately confirm it was a military-style rescue, only saying Pakistani authorities “got custody” of the family.

Videos of the couple were released by their captors during their captivity, with the latest video filmed in December showing the couple begging for their release alongside two of their children.

The Pakistani army said the success of the operation came from cooperation with US Intelligence.

“The success underscores the importance of timely intelligence sharing and Pakistan’s continued commitment towards fighting this menace through co-operation between two forces against a common enemy,” the army said in a statement.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland praised the United States, Pakistan and Afghanistan for their efforts in securing the hostages’ release.

“Joshua, Caitlan, their children and the Boyle and Coleman families have endured a horrible ordeal over the past five years. We stand ready to support them as they begin their healing journey,” she said.