Family held captive by Taliban-linked group released

Associated Press

ISLAMABAD (October 12, 2017) — An American woman, her Canadian husband and their three young children have been released after years of being held captive by a network with ties to the Taliban, U.S. and Pakistani officials said Thursday.

U.S. officials say Pakistan secured the release of Caitlan Coleman of Stewartstown, Pennsylvania, and her husband, Canadian Joshua Boyle, who were abducted five years ago while traveling in Afghanistan and had been held by the Haqqani network in Pakistan.

Coleman was pregnant when she was captured. The couple had three children while in captivity, and all have been freed, U.S. officials say.

A U.S. national security official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing operation, commended Pakistan for their critical assistance in securing the family’s release — and described the cooperation as an important step in the right direction for U.S.-Pakistani relations.

The U.S. has long criticized Pakistan for failing to aggressively go after the Haqqanis, who have been behind many attacks against U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan.

In Pakistan, its military said in a statement that U.S. intelligence agencies had been tracking the hostages and discovered they had come into Pakistan on Oct. 11 through its tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

“All hostages were recovered safe and sound and are being repatriated to the country of their origin,” the military said.

Three Pakistani military officials, all speaking on condition of anonymity as they weren’t allowed to speak to journalists, also confirmed the hostages’ identities.

The release, which came together rapidly Wednesday, comes nearly five years to the day since Coleman and Boyle lost touch with their families while traveling in a mountainous region near the Afghan capital, Kabul.

The couple set off in the summer 2012 for a journey that took them to Russia, the central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and then to Afghanistan. Coleman’s parents last heard from their son-in-law on Oct. 8, 2012, from an internet cafe in what Boyle described as an “unsafe” part of Afghanistan.

In 2013, the couple appeared in two videos asking the U.S. government to free them from the Taliban.

Coleman’s parents, Jim and Lyn Coleman, told the online Circa News service in July 2016 that they received a letter from their daughter in November 2015, in which she wrote that she’d given birth to a second child in captivity. It’s unclear whether they knew she’d had a third.

“I pray to hear from you again, to hear how everybody is doing,” the letter said.

In that interview, Jim Coleman issued a plea to top Taliban commanders to be “kind and merciful” and let the couple go.

“As a man, father and now grandfather, I am asking you to show mercy and release my daughter, her husband, and our beautiful grandchildren,” Jim Coleman said. “Please grant them an opportunity to continue their lives with us, and bring peace to their families.”

The family was being held by the Haqqani network. U.S. officials call the group a terrorist organization and have targeted its leaders with drone strikes. But the group also operates like a criminal network. Unlike the Islamic State group, it does not typically execute Western hostages, preferring to ransom them for cash.

Trump has called on Pakistan to do more to tackle militant organizations that use its territory as a home base.

“We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond,” Trump said in a recent speech announcing his Afghanistan policy. He issued a stark warning: “We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting. But that will have to change, and that will change immediately.”

Consider Supporting Us?

The staff at Onenewsnow.com strives daily to bring you news from a biblical perspective. If you benefit from this platform and want others to know about it please consider a generous gift today.

MAKE A DONATION

Comments

We moderate all reader comments, usually within 24 hours of posting (longer on weekends). Please limit your comment to 300 words or less and ensure it addresses the article - NOT another reader's comments. Comments that contain a link (URL), an inordinate number of words in ALL CAPS, rude remarks directed at other readers, or profanity/vulgarity will not be approved. More details

SIGN UP FOR OUR DAILY NEWSBRIEF

SUBSCRIBE

VOTE IN OUR POLL

Should vaccination of children be decided by parents/guardians – or by government regulations?

CAST YOUR VOTE

GET PUSH NOTIFICATIONS

SUBSCRIBE

LATEST AP HEADLINES

Charges, insults fly after Trump aide assails congresswoman
Trump: Considering Powell and Taylor for Fed's top 2 posts
Suicide bombings in Afghanistan hit mosques, killing 63
Somalia's death toll now at 358 as 'state of war' planned
Sanders says Wilson is 'all hat, no cattle'
Senate GOP backs budget, clears way for tax overhaul
Poll:Vegas shooting doesn't change opinions on guns

LATEST FROM THE WEB

Bill O’Reilly accuses Rep Wilson of 'setting up' Trump in call to military widow
How many defectors escape NKorea and why don't we hear more from them?
Afghan troops going AWOL in U.S.
Media ignoring real Democratic scandals
Media, et al. attack Gen. Kelly - a Gold Star father - for defending Trump's call

CARTOON OF THE DAY

Cartoon of the Day

REASON & COMPANY

NEXT STORY
Charges, insults fly after Trump aide assails congresswoman

WASHINGTON (October 20, 2017) — The White House on Friday rushed to defend chief of staff John Kelly after he mischaracterized the remarks of a Democratic congresswoman and called her an “empty barrel” making noise. A Trump spokeswoman said it was “inappropriate” to question Kelly in light of his stature as a retired four-star general.