ISLAMABAD (NEWS 1130) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has thanked Canada’s allies around the globe for their work in achieving a positive resolution to the five-year hostage situation involving Canadian citizen Joshua Boyle, his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, and their three children.
Speaking during a visit to Mexico, Trudeau asked that the family’s privacy be respected. Officials announced Thursday that the family was freed in a rescue orchestrated by the U.S. and Pakistan governments.
“We’re pleased that the ordeal that they’ve been through these past years has finally come to an end,” Trudeau said.
Boyle and Coleman were kidnapped in 2012 while travelling in Afghanistan. Coleman was pregnant at the time, and all three of their children were born while the couple was in captivity. They were being held by the Haqqani Network, a guerrilla insurgent group that’s been fighting against both US-led forces and the Afghan government.
Pakistani commandos intercepted a car the family was in when the kidnappers were taking their hostages across the border from Afghanistan.
Tariq Azim Khan said Thursday that Boyle and his family were then flown by helicopter to the U.S. embassy in Islamabad where they remain. He adds the family is fit to travel, but it’s undecided whether they will fly to Canada or to the U.S. from there.
It’s unclear how many of the suspects were killed, but Khan said one or two escaped did escape, and a search is underway.
Meantime, Boyle’s parents say they’re waiting to find out precisely when their son and his family will be returning to Canada.
His mother, Linda, says they spoke to him for the first time in five years. She calls it amazing and says he told them his children are looking forward to meeting their grandparents.
“Josh is anxious to cooperate with the authorities,” said Boyle’s father, Patrick. “He and Cate are determined to help bring their captors to justice for the horrendous things that were done to them.”
Boyle said he has spoken to his son twice today, and adds they’re being sheltered in a safe place until they can return to North America.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says Canada is greatly relieved, but says she’s not at liberty to discuss the details of the operation.
“Their security is our absolute priority, and I think we all have to really remember what a traumatic experience this family has gone through, really unspeakable. We as a government are focused on ensuring that they are safe.”
US intelligence agencies had been tracking the hostages and discovered their captors had crossed with them from Afghanistan into Pakistan yesterday — that’s when Pakistan’s military moved in.