Gunshots, a Cry of ‘Kill the Hostages,’ Then Freedom for Canadian-American Family

 In World

President Trump praised the Pakistanis for their role in freeing the family.

“This is a positive moment for our country’s relationship with Pakistan,” Mr. Trump said in a statement on Thursday. “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.”

The family was at the American Embassy in Islamabad late Thursday, Tariq Azim Khan, a Pakistani diplomat, said in a telephone interview from London. The Pakistani military pledged to repatriate them, and American officials were exploring how to get the family out of South Asia. Mr. Boyle’s relatives said they expected him to return home in the coming days.

“Josh indicated that they’d like to come back to Canada,” his mother, Linda, said outside of the family’s stone house in Smiths Falls, Ontario, about an hour southwest of Ottawa. “That was their plan right now.”

The return trip was complicated by Mr. Boyle’s refusal to board an American C-130 to take the family out of Pakistan and to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, where Americans have been accused of abusing detainees. His father said Mr. Boyle was philosophically opposed to traveling to the base.

Photo

Patrick and Linda Boyle talked to reporters on Thursday about the release of their son, Joshua Boyle, and his American wife and three children after five years of captivity.

Credit
Ian Austen/The New York Times

After marrying in 2011, Ms. Coleman and Mr. Boyle spent months traveling in Central America before leaving for a trip through Russia and Central Asia. They had planned to leave Afghanistan in late 2012 because of Ms. Coleman’s pregnancy. But they were kidnapped in October of that year while backpacking in Wardak Province, a militant stronghold near Kabul.

In exchange for the family’s freedom, the Haqqani network had previously demanded the release of Anas Haqqani, one of its commanders. The Afghan government captured Mr. Haqqani in 2014, and he was sentenced to death. The militant group had threatened to kill the family if he was executed.

Earlier attempts to bring the family home fell short. In January 2016, Colin Rutherford, a Canadian, was freed after Qatar arranged a prisoner swap with the Afghan government. Officials had hoped Mr. Rutherford would be the first in a series of releases, including Ms. Coleman and her family.

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