The parents of the Canadian citizen Joshua Boyle expressed their 'profound' thanks to the Pakistani Army for rescuing their son, his American wife and their three children in an operation conducted by the Pakistani forces based on intelligence provided by the United States.
In a video statement, Patrick and Linda Boyle expressed their gratefulness to Pakistani, American, Afghan and Canadian governments.
"We relate to the High Commissioner of Pakistan here in Canada our profound thanks for the courageous Pakistani soldiers who risked their lives and got all five out safely in the rescue [operation]," said Patrick.
Pakistan Army rescues Canadian-American family held hostage by Taliban
Linda spoke about the moment they learned of their family's rescue. At 1am the family received a call alerting them to the news, 20 minutes later the parents were allowed to speak to their son Joshua. "That's the first time in five years we got to hear his voice," Linda says. "He told us how much he and his children were looking forward to meeting their grandparents and that he would see me in a couple of days. So we are waiting for that."
Patrick added that some logistical issues remained due to the nature of the rescue. "Previous reports indicating they were in the air, on route home were definitely premature."
The Pakistan Army, on Thursday, said it had rescued Joshua Boyle, his American wife Caitlan Coleman, along with their three young children, who were held hostage by militants in Afghanistan for five years, in a move hailed by President Donald Trump as a ‘positive moment’ in relations between Islamabad and Washington. They were believed to be held by the Taliban-allied Haqqani network.
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Coleman and Boyle were kidnapped while backpacking in Afghanistan in 2012. Coleman was pregnant at the time, and a video released by the Taliban in December showed their two sons born while they were hostages.
An Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement said that “through an intelligence-based operation”, the army took custody of the hostages. It said the hostages had been recovered in Kurram tribal area that borders Nangarhar and Paktia provinces in Afghanistan.
Watch the full video here:
Mattis, General Votel think Pakistan Army impressively freed hostages
US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said, on Thursday, he was hopeful that the freeing of the kidnapped US-Canadian family was a harbinger for closer cooperation in the future.
“This is a very positive moment and the Pakistan Army performed well,” Mattis told reporters on board a military plane, adding he hoped this would be “a harbinger for the future.”
“We intend to work with Pakistan in a collaborative way in the future to stop terrorism and that includes kidnapping,” Mattis added. He declined to comment on any specifics on how the hostages were freed.
Senior US military official General Joseph Votel also termed the freeing of the kidnapped US-Canadian couple and their children in Pakistan a positive sign and a recognition of how seriously Islamabad takes the protection of American citizens.
“We are very appreciative for the efforts of the Pakistani military in helping effect the securing of our American hostages that have been held there, and a Canadian citizen, for quite some time,” said General Votel.
As head of US Central Command, Votel oversees US forces in the Middle East and South Asia, including Afghanistan. “It is a positive sign that they [recognised] the importance, they [recognised] the opportunity, they acted quickly and very responsibly to get control of these persons and begin to effect their return,” Votel told reporters.
He added that he had spoken with Pakistan’s chief of Army Staff on Wednesday.
Votel also said that peace talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan were possible to bring an end to the war. “Our focus is to put military pressure on the Taliban to make that a viable option for them, that they need to come to the table,” he said.
With additional reporting from agencies
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