Yesterday, Joe Cunningham reported the good news that Pakistan forces freed American Caitlan Coleman, her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle, and their three young children from captivity by the Haqqani network. The Haqqani are affiliated with the Taliban. President Donald Trump said in a statement yesterday:
“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. We hope to see this type of cooperation and teamwork in helping secure the release of remaining hostages and in our future joint counterterrorism operations.”
Chief of Staff John Kelly said yesterday, “We had arrangements to transport them back to the United States, or to Canada, anywhere they wanted to go.”
The choice of where to land is key, because after five years in an underground holding area in which Coleman gave birth to their three children, Boyle did not want to be flown to an American airbase — which the United States had arranged to do. Boyle’s parents told The Toronto Star that he asked instead to be sent with his family to the Canadian High Commission in Islamabad.
The reason, reports the Guardian, is that Boyle was once married to Zaynab Khadr, the sister of Omar Khadr, a rather famous former Gitmo detainee. Their father Ahmed Said Khadr financed Al Qaeda, and the family were guests of Osama bin Laden. The U.S. Department of Justice has said neither Boyle or his American wife are wanted for any federal crimes.
If the name sounds familiar, yes, it is the same Omar Khadr the Canadian government will pay millions of dollars — along with an apology — for not keeping him out of Guantanamo Bay. Khadr was fifteen when he murdered U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Christopher Speer during a fire fight in Afghanistan — a murder to which he plead guilty.
Boyle told his parents that he and his family were in the trunk of a car when they were rescued. The last thing he heard his captors say was “Kill the hostages.” He was wounded by shrapnel during the shoot out; the U.S. has provided the family with medical and psychological care.
A Pakistani security official confirms there was a car chase and exchange of fire, but the captors did escape. Today the family flew out of Islamabad; the Daily Mail reports they landed in Canada and do not intend to return to the United States.