American family rescued after five years of captivity in Afghanistan
An American woman and her Canadian husband who were held in captivity by militants in Afghanistan for five years, have been released along with their children, The White House announced on Thursday.
Pakistani troops, operating on intelligence provided by the United States as part of a covert operation, rescued Caitlan Coleman, her husband Joshua Boyle and their children after locating them in the mountainous Kurram Valley region that borders Afghanistan.
“Today they are free,” Donald Trump said on Thursday in a statement confirming their release. The couple were kidnapped in Afghanistan in 2012 and were believed to be held by the Haqqani network, a group deemed a terrorist organization by the US.
Boyle’s family said they had received a call from their son early on Thursday morning, describing it as the first time in five years they had been able to speak to him. “Josh said he was doing pretty well for someone who has spent the last five years in an underground prison,” Patrick Boyle told the Toronto Star. His son also told him that he and Coleman had had a third baby – a girl – who had been born two months earlier.
Boyle told his father that the rescue operation had taken place while the family were locked in the trunk of a car. The last words Boyle heard were “kill the hostages” before a shootout erupted. American officials were exploring ways to get the family out of South Asia, with Mr. Boyle possibly headed to Canada and his wife and children back to the United States.
In an unusual moment on Wednesday night, Mr. Trump appeared to telegraph the family’s impending release.
“America is being respected again,” the president said during a speech on his tax plan in Harrisburg, Pa. “Something happened today where a country that totally disrespected us called with some very, very important news. And one of my generals came in, they said, you know, I have to tell you, a year ago they would have never done that. It was a great sign of respect. You’ll probably be hearing about it over the next few days.”
Mr. Trump did not mention Ms. Coleman, Mr. Boyle or Pakistan, but the revelation was notable for a president who had often complained that President Barack Obama shared what Mr. Trump viewed as important secrets, such as battle plans against the Islamic State.