Kidnapped US-Canadian couple, three children freed in Pakistan

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An American woman, her Canadian husband and their three children were rescued in Pakistan on Wednesday, five years after the couple was captured by a terrorist group while hiking in Afghanistan.

Pakistan's Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) in a statement on Thursday said the hostages were rescued "through an intelligence-based operation by Pakistani troops and the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence)".

"Yesterday, the United States government, working in conjunction with the Government of Pakistan, secured the release of the Boyle-Coleman family from captivity in Pakistan", Trump said.

The couple was supposed to return to the U.S.so that Coleman, then pregnant, could deliver her baby. "It was incredible. He told us how much his children were looking forward meeting their grandparents", his mother, Linda Boyle, said. They became close, and Boyle eventually attended his wedding.

A USA national security official, who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity, said US officials had planned on moving the family out of Pakistan on a USA transport plane, but at the last minute Boyle would not get on, the official said.

A friend of Boyle's who asked to be identified by his first name, Greg, said he met the intensely private Boyle about 15 years ago playing an online Star Wars game.

The United States believed the hostages were probably held by the Haqqani group in or near its headquarters in northwestern Pakistan the entire time, two other US officials said.

The hostages are "safe and sound and are being repatriated to the country of their origin", the army said in a statement, after the rescue in Kurram district, part of the semi-autonomous tribal belt along the Afghan border.

"It was a matter of interdicting vehicles", another USA official told Reuters, saying the United States never dictated to Pakistan how precisely to secure the hostages' release.

The last time anyone heard from Coleman, the York County native spoke of the "Kafkaesque nightmare" she and her husband had been trapped in for almost five years. It was revealed Thursday that Coleman had a third child. "We stand ready to support them as they begin their healing journey", Freeland said.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis meanwhile praised the release as a positive step in often rocky US-Pakistan ties.

Tillerson in a statement said Trump's strategy in the region recognised "the important role Pakistan needs to play to bring stability and ultimately peace to the region".

The Pakistan Army says it has recovered a Canadian, his US National wife and their three children from "terrorist custody" after receiving intelligence from US officials.

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