CIA Says US-Canadian Family Held Hostage in Pak, Not Afghanistan

Caitlan Coleman, her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle and their three kids were recently released. 

2 min read
 Caitlan Coleman with her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle. (Photo: AP)

CIA chief Mike Pompeo has said a US-Canadian couple kidnapped by militants in Afghanistan had been held for five years inside Pakistan before being freed, contradicting the Pakistan Army's claim that the hostages were rescued shortly after entering the country from Afghanistan.

“The couple had been held for five years inside Pakistan,” Pompeo said on 19 October during a wide-ranging discussion at the Foundation for Defence of Democracies, a Washington-based think-tank.

His remarks contradicts the Pakistan Army which had said in a statement that the hostages “were captured by terrorists from Afghanistan during 2012 and kept as hostages there.”

Caitlan Coleman, an American citizen, and her husband Joshua Boyle, a Canadian citizen, were kidnapped in 2012 in Afghanistan while on a backpacking trip. Coleman, 31, was pregnant at the time of abduction. All of the couple’s three children were born in captivity.

The Pakistan Army statement issued on 12 October did not identify the group which had held the family captive, but the US leadership have blamed Haqqani Network as the perpetrators.

After the recovery of hostages, the Pakistan military officials emphasised the importance of co-operation and intelligence sharing by Washington.

The success underscores the importance of timely intelligence sharing and Pakistan’s continued commitment towards fighting this menace through cooperation between two forces against a common enemy.
Pakistani Army’s statement

The operation came at a time when Pakistan is trying to rebuild bilateral ties frayed after President Donald Trump accused the country of sheltering terror groups.

Trump, in August, had accused Pakistan of harbouring “agents of chaos and terror” and the “very enemy US forces have fighting in Afghanistan” for the past 17 years.

(The article has been edited for length.)

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