US & World

US woman and family freed after 5 years in captivity in Afghanistan

This still image made from a 2013 video released by the Coleman family shows Caitlan Coleman and her husband, Canadian Joshua Boyle, in a militant video given to the family.
This still image made from a 2013 video released by the Coleman family shows Caitlan Coleman and her husband, Canadian Joshua Boyle, in a militant video given to the family.
/AP

An American woman, her Canadian husband and their young children have been freed after five years in captivity by an extremist group in Afghanistan, Pakistan's military said Thursday.

Caitlan Coleman, now 32, was seven months pregnant when she and her husband, Josh Boyle, were abducted in 2012 while on a trip to Afghanistan.

U.S. intelligence agencies had been tracking the family and provided information to the Pakistanis as the hostages were moved across the border from Afghanistan to Pakistan, the Pakistan military said in a statement.

"The operation by Pakistani forces, based on actionable intelligence from U.S. authorities was successful," the Pakistan statement said. "All hostages were recovered safe and sound and are being repatriated to the country of their origin."

The statement did not clarify whether the hostages were rescued or were released through negotiations with the Haqqani network, an extremist group responsible for many attacks on U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

U.S. officials did not immediately comment on the Pakistani report.

However, in a speech Wednesday in Coleman's home state of Pennsylvania, President Trump said: "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've never done that.' It was a great sign of respect. You'll probably be hearing about it over the next few days. But this is a country that did not respect us. This is a country that respects us now. The world is starting to respect us again, believe me," the president added.

The couple set off on an extended trip that took them through Russia and central Asia in the summer of 2012. Coleman's parents, Jim and Lyn Coleman, said the last contact they had with the couple was on Oct. 8, 2012, when their son-in-law reached them from an Internet cafe in Afghanistan.

Last December, the couple was seen in a YouTube video, pleading for the U.S. and Canadian governments to help win their release.

Two young children — who were born in captivity — appear in the video with them. The Toronto Star reports Boyle told his father that the couple has since had a third child.

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