Family Held Hostage By the Taliban Rescued After 5 Years

Bryan Michalek | October 12, 2017
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A Canadian-American couple and their three children have been rescued and released after being held hostage by the Taliban for the last 5 years. 

Caitlan Coleman, 31, and her husband Joshua Boyle, 34, were abducted while hiking in Afghanistan's Ghazni province in 2012. According to NPR, the two were expecting their first child at the time of the abduction. 

In addition to their first child, the couple welcomed two more children into the world, all while being held by a Taliban affiliate known as the Haqqani network -- the same group known for holding Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. U.S. intelligence efforts tracked the family, who was moved from Afghanistan to Pakistan. 

According to ABC News, the family was recovered after a top-secret exchange between the Pakistani military and U.S. commandos late Wednesday night.

ABC News also obtained some information from two counterterrorism officials who claimed that special forces were considering a raid to retrieve the family until the family was moved to a new location with terrain that would have had a negative impact on the mission. 

The Pakistani army confirmed this information in a statement claiming that U.S. intel had been tracking the family in Afghanistan, also reporting that the family had been transported into the Kurram tribal district of Pakistan, according to BBC.

"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," Pakistani officials claimed.

President Trump called the rescue a "positive moment" for U.S.-Pakistan ties, adding, "The Pakistani government's co-operation is a sign that it is honoring America's wishes for it to do more to provide security in the region."

According to a senior official speaking with ABC News, the families of the newly released hostages have been notified. The family has not yet departed Pakistan. 

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