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Thursday Oct 12 2017

Trump lauds recovery of kidnapped couple, says positive moment for Pak-US relations


WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump announced that US and Pakistani officials had secured the release of an American woman, her Canadian husband and their three children from Taliban captivity.

On Thursday, the Army's media wing confirmed the rescue and recovery of five foreign nationals in an intelligence-based operation. 

The US leader identified the kidnapped couple as Caitlan Coleman and Joshua Boyle, and said their release was a "positive moment" for US relations with Pakistan.

"Ms Coleman gave birth to the couple's three children while they were in captivity," Trump said, in a White House statement. "Today, they are free."

"This is a positive moment for our country's relationship with Pakistan. 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," said a statement released by the White House. 

The statement added that the White House hopes to see such cooperation and our future joint counterterrorism operations. 

The foreign nationals were captured in Afghanistan by terrorists.

US intelligence services had been tracking the movement of the hostages and informed their Pakistani partners when the hostages were moved across the Pak-Afghan border into Kurram agency on October 11, 2017.

The operation by Pakistani forces, based on actionable intelligence by US authorities, successfully recovered the hostages.

“All hostages were recovered safe and sound and are being repatriated to the country of their origin,” said ISPR.

Canada hails rescue

Canada's foreign ministry also hailed the rescue of the couple and expressed relief at the couple's safe return. 

"We are greatly relieved that after being held hostage for five years, Joshua Boyle and his wife Caitlan Coleman, as well as their young children, have been released and are safe," said Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.

"Joshua, Caitlan, their children and the Boyle and Coleman families have endured a horrible ordeal over the past five years," she added in a statement.

Freeland said Canada had been "actively engaged with the governments of the United States, Afghanistan and Pakistan" in trying to free the couple, but provided no details.

Strained relations

On August 22, Trump alleged that Pakistan, a frontline state and a key ally of Washington's in the 16-year long war on terror, was offering safe haven to "agents of chaos."

During the same address, Trump also cleared the way for the deployment of thousands more US troops to Afghanistan and also indicated that the single-minded approach would extend to US relations with troubled ally Pakistan.

Following Trump's scathing criticism of Pakistan, the country's long-term ally, China, defended Pakistan's struggle against terrorism and said the country had made "great sacrifices" and "important contributions" in the fight.

Pakistan then proceeded to display its displeasure at Trump's remarks and postponed a visit by US acting Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells.

US Ambassador David Hale then said the US President Donald Trump did not blame Pakistan for failure in Afghanistan.

The US envoy also acknowledged Pakistan’s sacrifices in the war on terror and hoped that the country would continue to play a cooperative role.

The strongest reply came from Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who said that Pakistan has done enough in the war on terror and now it is time for the world to do more.

In October, in a meeting between US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, Tillerson said Pakistan is critical for the long-term stability of South Asia.

"We want Pakistan's government to be stable, peaceful.. many of the same issues they are struggling inside Pakistan are our issues. So we think there is an opportunity to strengthen that relationship."

Pakistan's relation with the US is "extraordinarily important", he had said. 


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