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Pakistan's army frees Western hostages held by Taliban for years

12 October 2017

A North American family that had been held hostage by the Afghan Taliban has been freed following an operation in Pakistan, the Pakistani military said Thursday.

"US intelligence agencies had been tracking them and shared their shifting across to Pakistan on October 11, 2017, through the Kurram Agency border", the ISPR said.

USA officials say Pakistan secured the release of Caitlan Coleman and her husband, Canadian Joshua Boyle. He also told his father that they've had a third baby in custody, a little girl who was born two months ago.

The rescued hostages "are being repatriated to their country of origin", it added.

Coleman was pregnant when she was kidnapped.

The Haqqani network has been accused of masterminding several high-profile terrorist attacks in the Afghan capital and have been known to kidnap Western hostages and smuggle them across the border into Pakistan.

Coleman's parents last heard from their son-in-law on October 8, 2012, from an internet cafe in what Boyle described as an "unsafe" part of Afghanistan.

The U.S. has criticized Pakistan for failing to aggressively go after the Haqqanis.

The Afghan government has captured several senior members of the Haqqani Network and United States officials believed the Taliban faction had hoped to exchange American hostages for their release.

"I think it's clear to me that the ISI has connections with terrorist groups", Gen. Joseph Dunford, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate Armed Services Hearing on Afghanistan and South Asia last week, using the Pakistan intelligence agency's acronym.

Pakistan's army frees Western hostages held by Taliban for years