Canadian hostages held for 5 years in Afghanistan freed

A still image from a video posted by the Taliban on social media

A still image from a video posted by the Taliban on social media

Neighbors of Coleman's parents, Jim and Lyn Coleman, say they can't imagine how thrilled the couple must be about the chance they'll get to see their grandchildren for the first time.

File video shows U.S. citizen Caitlan Coleman and Canadian citizen Joshua Boyle while in captivity along with their two toddlers and speaking to the camera to implore for their release.

The release of Caitlan Coleman, her husband and three children reportedly took place after United States officials provided new intelligence on the family's location to Pakistan's government.

Two U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, on Thursday told Reuters that the U.S. military had been ready to fly the family out of the country after they were freed but said Boyle, who is Canadian, had refused to board the aircraft.

According to a White House statement also issued on Thursday, Trump said that the United States in cooperation with Pakistan secured the release of the Boyle-Coleman family from captivity in Pakistan. Some U.S. officials say Pakistani safe havens have helped prolong the conflict.

Boyle had once been married to the sister of an inmate at the US military detention centre at Guantanamo Bay.

Pakistan's Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) in a statement on Thursday said the hostages were rescued "through an intelligence-based operation by Pakistani troops and the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence)".

The last time anyone heard from Coleman, the York County native spoke of the "Kafkaesque nightmare" she and her husband had been trapped in for almost five years.

He said Pakistani troops and intelligence agents, acting on a USA intelligence tip, zeroed in on a vehicle holding the family as they were being moved in Kurram agency. "We are prepared to bring them back home", the official said.

Adventurous travelers, Coleman and Boyle had planned a backpacking trip through Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan in 2012.

Afghanistan is rife with militants and organised criminal gangs who stage kidnappings for ransom, often targeting foreigners and wealthy Afghans, who are said to have been ferried over the border into Pakistan's tribal belt. After the release of the family, they emphasized the importance of co-operation and intelligence sharing by Washington, which has threatened to cut military aid and other punitive measures against Pakistan.

Boyle and Coleman were held for five years by the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network in Afghanistan.

They would appear sporadically in videos from the Haqqani network over the years, saying their captors had threatened to kill them if the Afghan government would not stop executing Taliban prisoners.

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