ISLAMABAD: The High Commissioner for Pakistan to Canada said on Thursday night that Pakistani commandos carried out a raid and there was a shootout before they safely rescued from a van an American woman, her husband and their three children after being held for years by a group with ties to the Taliban.
Tariq Azim Khan said that Canadian Joshua Boyle and his family were then flown by helicopter to the US embassy in Islamabad where they were till late night.
He said Boyle and his family are fit to travel and it’s undecided whether they will fly to Canada or to the US from there.
He said they didn’t know how many of the suspects were killed, adding that one or two escaped and there was a search for the suspects.
He said he exchanged emails with the father of Joshua Boyle to tell them they had been rescued.
President Donald Trump’s chief of staff is welcoming the release of the family rescued from captivity in Pakistan.
John Kelly told reporters at the White House that Caitlan Coleman, her husband Joshua Boyle and their three young children had been essentially “living in a hole” for five years. He added, “I mean that’s the kind of people we’re dealing with over there”.
Mr Kelly credited Pakistan with playing a key role in their rescue.
He also said the family was “being cared for now as we speak”.
Mr Boyle spoke to his parents and told them that he was in the trunk of the kidnappers’ car with his wife and children, when Pakistani forces rescued them.
The Toronto Star reported there was a shootout and Mr Boyle said the last words he heard from the kidnappers were, “kill the hostages”.
The paper reports all five kidnappers were then shot dead and Mr Boyle was injured with shrapnel.
His mother, Linda Boyle, said they spoke to him for the first time in five years. She called it amazing and said he told them his children were looking forward to meeting their grandparents. All three kids were born in captivity.
The parents of Caitlan Coleman were elated at the release of their daughter, her husband and their children.
Jim and Lyn Coleman placed a note on the door of their home in Stewartstown, Pennsylvania. It says they appreciate “all the interest and concern being expressed at the joyful news that Caity, Josh and our grandchildren have been released after five long years of captivity”.
They also asked people to respect their privacy and not knock on their door.
Neighbours of Coleman’s parents said they can’t imagine how thrilled the couple must be about meeting their grandchildren.
Family members remain inside the house in rural Stewartstown, about 65km north of Baltimore, where Ms Coleman grew up. Neighbor Karen Nycum said it must have been hard for her parents “maintaining that hope”.
Canada’s foreign minister said her government was greatly relieved to learn that after five years of being held hostage Mr Boyle and family had been released and are safe.
Chrystia Freeland said Canada had been engaged with the governments of the United States, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and she’s thanking those countries for helping with the release.
Published in Dawn, October 13th, 2017