The Taliban has freed an American woman and her family after holding them hostage for five years in Afghanistan, according to Pakistani authorities.
The woman, Caitlan Coleman, and her Canadian husband, Joshua Boyle, were kidnapped in 2012 while backpacking in Afghanistan by way of Russia and other Middle East countries. Coleman was seven months pregnant at the time, and the couple had three children while in captivity, according to reports.
The Pakistani military recovered the family of five during an operation based on U.S. intelligence, USA TODAY reported.
“They were captured by terrorists from Afghanistan during 2012 and kept as hostages there. U.S. intelligence agencies had been tracking them and shared their shifting across to Pakistan on 11 Oct 2017 through Kurram Agency border,” a statement by the Pakistani army said, USA TODAY reported, adding that “all hostages were recovered safe and sound and are being repatriated to the country of their origin.”
The family was reportedly held captive by the Haqqani network, a faction of the Taliban, which had initially demanded the release of one of its commanders, Anas Haqqani. The New York Times reported that Anas Haqqani was captured by the Afghan government in 2014 and he was sentenced to death, and that the network “had threatened to kill the family if the Afghans executed him.”
Coleman and Boyle were seen in a 2016 video pleading for help.