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Pakistan Army recovers five foreign hostages

13 October 2017

Caitlan Coleman and Joshua Boyle were kidnapped during a backpacking trip in Afghanistan in 2012, and had three children while in captivity.

Coleman and Boyle were last seen in a hostage video in December 2016 pleading for their governments to intervene. He told the paper there had been a shoot-out and that the last words he heard from the kidnappers were "kill the hostages".

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.

The US official said there are some questions surrounding Boyle's past, but the Department of Justice said he did not face arrest.

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Boyle was formerly married to Zaynab Khadr, the older sister of Omar Khadr, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee, and the son of a prominent Al-Qaeda financier.

But one USA official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was no indication that the hostages had been in Afghanistan in the days before they were freed, contrary to the Pakistani account.

The Pakistani army said its forces were able to recover the hostages after acting on USA intelligence about their passage into Pakistan from Afghanistan.

"The success underscores the importance of timely intelligence sharing and Pakistan's continued commitment towards fighting this menace through cooperation between two forces against a common enemy", a Pakistani army statement said. "We are prepared to bring them back home", the official said.

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She was pregnant at the time with her first child.

The two vanished after setting off in the summer of 2012 for a journey that took them to Russian Federation, the central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and then to Afghanistan. It added that United States intelligence agencies had been tracking the family in Afghanistan, and reported that on 11 October they had moved across the border into the Kurram tribal district of Pakistan. It was revealed Thursday that Coleman had a third child.

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. It did not say when they were rescued.

Coleman and Boyle were abducted in 2012 and held hostage by the Haqqani network, a terrorist organization with ties to the Taliban, the president said.

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

Pakistan Army recovers five foreign hostages