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American hostage Caitlan Coleman, family rescued after captivity in Afghanistan: reports

An American woman, her Canadian husband and their three children were rescued in Pakistan on Wednesday, five years after the couple was captured by a terrorist group while hiking in Afghanistan. The rescue, prompted by a tip from U.S. intelligence officers tracking the family, was announced in a statement Thursday from Pakistan’s army. President Donald Trump identified the rescued captives as 31-year-old American Caitlan Coleman, 34-year-old Canadian Joshua Boyle and their three children. 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. “Yesterday, the United States government, working in conjunction with the Government of Pakistan, secured the release of the Boyle-Coleman family from captivity in Pakistan,” Trump said. “Today they are free.”

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  1. Boyle's father, Patrick Boyle, confirmed to CBC News that he has been rescued.
  2. Coleman's family told Circa News in 2016 that they last saw Coleman and Joshua Boyle in 2012, before they left for a six-month-long trip that started in Russia, wound through Central Asia and wrapped in Afghanistan.
  3. The New York Times reported that Coleman and Joshua Boyle were kidnapped in October 2012 while backpacking in Afghanistan's Wardak Province. Coleman was pregnant at the time, according to the Times. Family members told Circa News that said she gave birth to the couple's first child in 2013, after she was captured. She had two more children while in captivity.
  4. The couple and two of their children were last seen in a video posted on Twitter late last year. Reuters reported that the video was uploaded to the social media site by radical Islamist insurgents, citing two unidentified senior Taliban figures based in Afghanistan.
  5. In the video, Coleman pleads for an end to the family's “Kafkaesque nightmare.” She refers to her sons as her "surviving children," although she does not elaborate.
  6. "It is an indescribable emotional sense one has watching a grandson making faces at the camera, while hearing our son's leg chains clanging up and down on the floor as he tries to settle his son," Joshua Boyle's parents, Patrick and Linda Boyle, said in a statement released to CBC News after the video was released. "It is simply heartbreaking to watch both boys so keenly observing their new surroundings in a makeshift film studio, while listening to their mother describe how they were made to watch her being defiled."
  7. Pakistan's army said in a statement Thursday that the family's rescue was prompted by a tip from U.S. intelligence officers who saw that the family was "shifting across to Pakistan ... through (the) Kurram Agency border."
  8. "All hostages were recovered safe and sound and are being repatriated to the country of their origin," the statement said.
  9. The family lived in the Canadian village of Perth-Andover, according to CBC News.
  10. "This is a positive moment for our country's relationship with Pakistan," Trump said on Thursday. "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. We hope to see this type of cooperation and teamwork in helping secure the release of remaining hostages and in our future joint counterterrorism operations."
  11. The U.S. has long criticized Pakistan for failing to aggressively go after the Haqqanis, who have been behind many attacks against U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan. U.S. officials call the group a terrorist organization and have targeted its leaders with drone strikes. But the group also operates like a criminal network. Unlike the Islamic State group, it does not typically execute Western hostages, preferring to ransom them for cash.
  12. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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