- A Canadian family held hostage for five years by Taliban has been freed
- The wife, Coleman was kidnapped was pregnant when she was kidnapped and the couple had two more children in captivity
- Pakistan said it had secured their release after receiving intelligence from the US
An American woman, her Canadian husband and their three children have been freed, nearly five years after being taken hostage by the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani Network in Afghanistan.
CNN reports that the family was released as part of an operation conducted by Pakistani security forces, according to a Pakistan army statement that was later confirmed by US officials.
NAIJ.com gathered that the couple, American Caitlan Coleman, 31, and her Canadian husband, Joshua Boyle, 33, were kidnapped in 2012 while they were backpacking Afghanistan.
Coleman was pregnant when she was kidnapped and the couple had two more children in captivity.
Pakistan said it had secured their release after receiving intelligence from the US.
"The operation by Pakistani forces, based on actionable intelligence from US authorities was successful; all hostages were recovered safe and sound and are being repatriated to the country of their origin," the statement said.
US officials said intelligence about the family's location had been shared with Pakistan officials in recent days.
Boyle's parents, Patrick and Linda, told CNN that they had spoken to their son and that all of the family members were in good health. They learned for the first time in the call that they now have a granddaughter.
Arrangements were being made to return the family either to the US or Canada.
Some of the circumstances surrounding the family's release remained unclear late Thursday.
A senior US official told CNN that US intelligence assets had detected and monitored the movement of vehicles believed to be transporting the family.
US officials provided this information to Pakistani authorities and US officials even began unilaterally discussing a possible US-staged rescue attempt.
However, to the surprise of the US government, the Pakistani authorities called back their US counterparts to say they had taken custody of all five family members. "That was a surprise to us," the official said.
According to the US official, it was not clear what the Pakistanis "said or did" on the ground to get the family back. But the official added there was no evidence that any Haqqani prisoners held by the Afghan government were released in a prisoner exchange. The US described the Pakistani operation a "transfer of custody," the official said.
A Pakistani military official told CNN his government received the US intelligence about the movement of the hostages on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. Pakistani time. The Pakistanis launched their operation three hours later.
The official said the recovery operation was conducted by Pakistani intelligence agents with the Pakistani military helping to secure the perimeter.
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He said that the operation took place in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in northwestern Pakistan while the family was being transported from one location to another.
The operation involved a shootout with the kidnappers with some being killed in the firefight and others being arrested, according to the official.
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com had previous reported that the defence ministry said more than 100 Afghan soldiers were killed or wounded in a Taliban attack on an army base.
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