A Pennsylvania woman, her Canadian husband and the three kids they had as prisoners are finally free after five years of being held hostage by the Taliban.
Caitlan Coleman, 31, Joshua Boyle, 34, and their children were rescued from the trunk of a car by the Pakistani military after a gunfight and will soon be on their way home, relieved family members said.
In 2012, Coleman and Boyle were abducted while hiking in Afghanistan. The globe-trotting couple had recently married and Coleman was pregnant.
The pair, held by members of the Taliban-linked Haqqani network, appeared occasionally in videos that were sent to their families — footage that stoked hope they eventually would be released.
Boyle called his parents in Ontario early Thursday to tell them of the young family’s sudden rescue.
“Josh said he was doing pretty well for someone who has spent the last five years in an underground prison,” Patrick Boyle told the Toronto Star.
The couple, along with their two sons and baby daughter, were being transported in the trunk of a vehicle when Pakistani military forces encountered their captors and engaged them in a gunfight, Boyce told his father.
The family is in Pakistan awaiting a flight to Canada.
Boyle, who suffered minor injuries during the shootout that preceded their rescue, reportedly declined a U.S. military flight on Wednesday, opting instead to go to the Canadian High Commission in Islamabad and arrange a flight through officials there.
“We had arrangements to transport them back to the United States, or to Canada, anywhere they wanted to go,” White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said in a news conference Thursday.
“They’ve been essentially living in a hole for five years,” he said, adding that the family is receiving medical and psychological treatment.
The group that kidnapped the couple was the same that held Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was released back into U.S. custody in May 2014 and pleaded guilty last week to desertion.
President Trump, in a statement Thursday, praised Pakistan for aiding the family.
“This is a positive moment for our country’s relationship with Pakistan,” the commander-in-chief said. “The Pakistani government’s cooperation is a sign that it is honoring America’s wishes for it to do more to provide security in the region.”
Pakistan’s government issued a press release Thursday confirming the rescue “through an intelligence-based operation by Pakistan troops and intelligence agencies.”
Just days earlier, Boyle’s family released a video they received of the couple that was filmed in January.
Boyle and Coleman appeared dazed, wearing dark clothes, and spoke about their captors’ intent to kill them.
Coleman, wearing a black headscarf and robes, is seen cradling a newborn. She tells her family “that if we all come out of this safely, and alive, then it would be a miracle.”
A note on the Coleman home in Stewartstown, Pa., on Thursday said the family appreciates the “concern being expressed at the joyful news that Caity, Josh and our grandchildren have been released after five long years of captivity.”
It also asked for privacy while the family members “make plans for the future.”
With News Wire Services.
Source : http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/taliban-releases-american-canadian-family-years-article-1.3557940