President Donald Trump on Thursday announced the release of an American woman, her Canadian husband and their three children born in captivity, all of whom were held hostage for five years.
Caitlan Coleman, an American citizen who went missing in late 2012 while hiking with her husband Joshua Boyle in Afghanistan, were held hostage by the Haqqani network — a terrorist organization tied to the Taliban, a statement from the president said on Thursday. While in captivity, Coleman gave birth to all three of the couple’s children.
"Yesterday, the United States government, working in conjunction with the Government of Pakistan, secured the release of the Boyle-Coleman family from captivity in Pakistan," the statement said.
Trump called the family’s release "a positive moment" in the United States’ 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 the region," the president said. "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."
Since his inauguration, Trump has taken on a get-tough approach toward Pakistan. In August, Trump officials said the U.S. government could potentially sanction Pakistani government officials with ties to terrorist organizations, as part of an overall regional strategy.
The Trump administration also quietly secured the release of Egyptian American Aya Hijazi and her husband Mohamed Hassanein, who is Egyptian, in April. The couple had been held in Cairo for nearly three years and were freed as part of a process in which Trump was individually involved, according to the White House at the time.
More recently during Trump’s time in office, Otto Warmbier, a 22-year-old American held prisoner by North Korea for 17 months, was also released on “humanitarian grounds." Warmbier died days later in June, after he was returned to the U.S in a coma.