Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Trump thanks Pakistan, after army rescues Canadian couple

Trump thanks Pakistan, after army rescues Canadian couple

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 odd 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.

USA intelligence agencies had been tracking the hostages and on Wednesday shared that the family had been moved across to Pakistan through the Kurram tribal area border, the army said.

They had been held by the Haqqani network, which has ties to the Taliban and is considered a terrorist organization by the United States. Their three children were born during their time in captivity.

Boyle's sister, Kaeryn, told Xinhua that "We're really glad that they're free".

A second Pakistani security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said US drones had been circling the town of Kohat, on the edge of the tribal areas on Wednesday, suggesting U.S.co-operation included sophisticated surveillance inside Pakistan.

Another military official told AFP the couple was hesitating to board a U.S. military jet in Pakistan over the Canadian husband's concerns he could face American scrutiny for links to a former Guantanamo captive.

"The Pakistani government's cooperation is a sign that it is honouring America's wishes for it to do more to provide security in the region", Trump said in a statement. "It was unbelievable. He told us how much his children were looking forward meeting their grandparents", his mother, Linda Boyle, said.

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Boyle reportedly told his parents that he and his family were in the trunk of a vehicle when they were rescued during a shoot-out that left the captors dead and Boyle injured with minor shrapnel wounds.

Boyle says the last thing he heard from his captors while the family was in the trunk of a auto during a firefight was "kill the hostages".

"The success underscores the importance of timely intelligence sharing and Pakistan's continued commitment towards fighting this menace through co-operation between two forces against a common enemy", said a statement from the Pakistani military.

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. "We stand ready to support them as they begin their healing journey", Freeland said.

"This is a very positive moment and the Pakistan army performed well", Mattis told reporters during a trip to Florida. Thursday's statements from Islamabad and Washington were the first mention of a third child.

Taliban sources said the family spent most of their captivity at Haqqani strongholds inside Pakistan, and not in Afghanistan as early Pakistani reports had indicated.

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