After being held for more than five years by a group with ties to the Taliban, an American woman, her Canadian husband and their three young children have been rescued.
Caitlan Coleman, of Stewartstown, Pennsylvania, and her husband, Joshua Boyle, were abducted while traveling in Afghanistan in 2012. Coleman gave birth to her three children while in captivity.
U.S. and Pakistani officials said Thursday they were rescued by an “intelligence-based operation by Pakistan troops” after they’d crossed the border from Afghanistan.
A look at what we know and what we don’t know about the couple, their rescue and what happens next:
WHY THEY WERE IN AFGHANISTAN?
Exactly why the couple chose to enter Afghanistan is unclear.
Sarah Flood, a hometown friend of Coleman’s, told the York Daily Record that Afghanistan wasn’t on the couple’s original itinerary. Jim Coleman, Caitlan Coleman’s father, told the newspaper in 2014 that while they were in central Asia, the couple met people who spoke highly of Afghanistan.
A fellow traveler who met the couple in a hostel in Kyrgyzstan wrote on his blog that Boyle had been talking up the idea of traveling to Afghanistan, saying it was a place for true explorers and the window to visit was closing since it would only get less secure once U.S. forces withdrew.
WHO WAS HOLDING THEM?
Members of the Taliban-linked Haqqani network, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, kidnapped the couple near Kabul.
The network is believed to command thousands of fighters.
U.S and Afghan intelligence agencies say Pakistan’s intelligence network has allowed the Haqqanis to live freely for decades in Pakistan’s tribal regions, a claim Islamabad denies.
The network was founded by Jalaluddin Haqqani, a one-time ally of the United States who achieved fame fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s and who developed close ties to the slain al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden. After his death, his son Sirajuddin Haqqani took over.