Pakistan Army recovers five foreign hostages

Pakistan Army recovers five foreign hostages

On Thursday, U.S. and Pakistani officials announced the release of the couple and the three children they had in captivity, a welcome development in a unusual tale that vexed federal investigators for years and became part of the political debate over the U.S. government's obligation to Americans held as hostages overseas.

"Today, our Commonwealth and our country give thanks that Caitlan Coleman, Josh Boyle and their children have been released from captivity", he said in a statement. US officials did not confirm the details. He said their release was a "positive moment" for U.S. relations with Pakistan. The AP reported in June 2014 about the existence of videos received by Coleman's father in which the couple - Coleman, in a conservative black garment and Boyle with a long, untrimmed beard - implored the US government to help free them.

Pakistan's military said the family were rescued after entering Pakistan from Afghanistan, but two Taliban sources with knowledge of the family's captivity said they had been kept in Pakistan in recent years.

"The last words Boyle said he heard from the kidnappers were, 'kill the hostages, '" the Star reported.

The Haqqani network operates on both sides of the porous Afghan-Pakistani border but senior militants have acknowledged they moved a major base of operations to Kurram agency in the tribal areas.

They were rescued after a USA tip-off during an operation near the Afghan border, the army said.

They most recently appeared in a hostage video released in June this year.

"It was a matter of interdicting vehicles", another US official told Reuters, saying the United States never dictated to Pakistan how precisely to secure the hostages' release.

Instead, they were abducted in Afghanistan and held captive by the Taliban-linked Haqqani network, surfacing periodically over the next five years in video recordings sent to their loved ones and scrubbed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for clues. It was a risky venture for any couple traveling without escort, especially since Coleman was pregnant with their first child. "We are prepared to bring them back home", the official said.

Agents from Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) spy-agency and army soldiers attempted to intercept the vehicle, but it sped away and was chased into a district in northwest Pakistan, according to the security source.

Another Foreign Office official said that the elimination of the current havens and safe readjustment of the targets would also ensure that Pakistan doesn't contribute to the refugee crisis, which in the long run could have put the country on the US' banned countries list.

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