US-Canadian family rescued: Navy SEALS were ready to step in if Pakistan failed to respond

A CIA drone picked up an image in northwest Pakistan of an American woman who was abducted five years ago while backpacking in Afghanistan with her Canadian husband.

FP Staff October 18, 2017 16:34:36 IST
US-Canadian family rescued: Navy SEALS were ready to step in if Pakistan failed to respond

Soon after an American-Canadian family was released from the clutches of the Haqqani terror network, the United States expressed hope that it would change the cooperative relationship between Washington and Islamabad. Vice-president Mike Pence also praised Pakistan for its help and said that Islamabad took an important step to answer the president's call to do more in the fight against terrorism.

However, things would have turned out extremely different had Pakistan not responded to the US' call. The relations between the two nations would have touched a new low and Islamabad would have proved true President Donald Trump's allegations that it provides safe havens to terrorist organisations.

USCanadian family rescued Navy SEALS were ready to step in if Pakistan failed to respond

File image of Caitlan Coleman and her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle. AP

A New York Times article delves into the situation before the US approached Pakistan for help in securing the release of the captive family. A CIA drone picked up an image in northwest Pakistan of an American woman who was abducted five years ago while backpacking in Afghanistan with her Canadian husband.

According to the report, members of Navy's SEAL Team 6 were mobilised to rescue the family. The commandos started rehearsing but the operation was called off because some in the US government were not certain that the people captured in the CIA image were the same ones, who had been kidnapped.

US Ambassador to Pakistan, David Hale, delivered an urgent US message to the Pakistani government – Resolve this, or the United States will. This reminds one of the NAVY SEAL operation that killed Osama Bin Laden in 2011 without the knowledge of the Pakistani government.

Pakistani officials told The New York Times that they acted within hours and with the help of American intelligence, they were able to locate the vehicle in which the Haqqanis were transporting the family and thus rescue them.

Had Pakistan not responded on time, the US was ready to launch an operation similar to the one in 2011. This would have been a huge embarrassment for Islamabad and consolidated the US belief that Pakistan harbours terrorists.

American citizen Caitlan Coleman and her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle were kidnapped in 2012 in Afghanistan while on a backpacking trip. Their three children were born while the pair was in captivity.

The family left for Canada aboard Pakistan International Airlines flight PK-785, a security official said.

After arriving in Canada, Boyle condemned the Haqqani network's "stupidity and evil of authorizing the murder of my infant daughter" in "retaliation for my repeated refusal to accept an offer that the miscreant of the Haqqani network had made to me, and the stupidity and evil of the subsequent rape of my wife".

With inputs from agencies

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