Western hostages held by Taliban are freed

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It is not clear how much Pakistan may have aided in the rescue efforts for Coleman and her family.

The U.S. has criticized Pakistan for failing to aggressively go after the Haqqanis.

The announcement of the release comes a month after President Trump announced a new strategy to deal with Afghanistan and Pakistan, saying the Taliban and other militant groups would no longer find safe haven in Pakistan.

The release, which came together rapidly Wednesday, comes almost five years to the day since Coleman and Boyle lost touch with their families while traveling in a mountainous region near the Afghan capital, Kabul. The insurgents had been demanding release of their prisoners in exchange for the two hostages who gave birth to the three children while in captivity. The hostages were rescued "through an intelligence-based operation by Pakistani troops and the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence)". They were abducted by Afghan-based terrorists in 2012 and kept as hostages for five years.

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Boyle, 34, and Coleman, 31, were kidnapped by the Taliban-linked Haqqani network in October 2012. The group released two videos of the hostages.

Their families did not know they had crossed into Afghanistan.

"We ask that you are merciful to their people and God willing they will release us", she said in the video, addressing Trump in December.

USA intelligence officials believed the couple was being held by the Haqqani Network, a branch of the Taliban believed to be responsible for some of the group's most violent and sophisticated attacks. But the group also operates like a criminal network. He issued a stark warning: "We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting".

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