Kidnapped Canadian family released after 5 years of being held hostage

The group also operates like a criminal network, and unlike the Islamic State group, it does not typically execute Western hostages, preferring to ransom them for cash. It said the couple's infant child died from natural causes due to lack of access to a doctor and medical facilities before her birth.

On Thursday, U.S. and Pakistani officials announced the release of the couple and the three children they had in captivity, a welcome development in a unusual tale that vexed federal investigators for years and became part of the political debate over the U.S. government's obligation to Americans held as hostages overseas.

"They've been essentially living in a hole for five years", Kelly said.

In this image from video released by Taliban Media in December 2016, Caitlan Coleman talks in the video while her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle holds their two children.

"It will be of incredible importance to my family that we are able to build a secure sanctuary for our three surviving children to call a home, to focus on edification and to try to regain some portion of the childhood that they have lost", he said.

He added one of his children is in poor health and had to be force-fed by their Pakistani rescuers.

Speaking to reporters Mr Boyle indicated they had had a fourth child, a girl, who had been killed by their captors, The Taliban-allied Haqqani network.

He said: "The stupidity and the evil of the Haqqani network in the kidnapping of a pilgrim... was eclipsed only by the stupidity and evil of authorising the murder of my infant daughter".

"Not as a lone action by one guard, but assisted by the captain of the guard and supervised by the commandant. of the Haqqani network".

Mr Boyle said the Taliban, whom he referred to by their official name, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, had carried out an investigation past year and found the Haqqani network was responsible for the crimes against his family. They had been held by the Haqqani Network, part of the Afghan Taliban that the USA believes works closely with the ISI - a top American military official had once described the group as a "veritable arm" of the ISI, a belief that is held widely by others.

Boyle said it was his hope "this litany of stupidity", would be the "epitaph" of the Haqqani network.

The operation came after years of USA pressure on Pakistan for assistance.

USA officials call the Haqqani group a terrorist organisation and have targeted its leaders with drone strikes.

"We're pleased that the ordeal they've been through over these past years has finally come to an end", Trudeau said Thursday night during a news conference.

Mr Boyle was once married to Zaynab Khadr, the older sister of former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr and the daughter of a senior Al Qaeda financier.

Coleman's parents last heard from their son-in-law on October 8, 2012, from an Internet cafe in what Boyle described as an "unsafe" part of Afghanistan.

The Canadian government said in a statement they will "continue to support him and his family now that they have returned".

"Today, we join the Boyle family in rejoicing over the long-awaited return to Canada of their loved ones", the Canadian government said in a statement.

Retired carpenter Sam Joines said he knows the family and could hardly believe the news when he heard it.

On Friday, President Donald Trump, who previously warned Pakistan to stop harbouring militants, praised Pakistan for its "cooperation on many fronts". He said Friday on Twitter that the starting to develop "a much better relationship with Pakistan and its leaders".

  • Joey Payne