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US-Canadian couple held for 5 years in Pakistan, says CIA chief

'The couple had been held for five years inside Pakistan,' Pompeo said

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

Pak-US cooperation on counter-terrorism must be kept low: CIA chief
Mike Pompeo. Photo: Reuters

CIA chief Mike Pompeo has said a US-Canadian couple kidnapped by militants in had been held for five years inside before being freed, contradicting the Army's claim that the hostages were rescued shortly after entering the country from

"The couple had been held for five years inside Pakistan," Pompeo yesterday said during a wide-ranging discussion at the Foundation for Defence of Democracies, a Washington-based think-tank.


His remarks contradicts the Army which had said in a statement that the hostages "were captured by terrorists from during 2012 and kept as hostages there."

Caitlan Coleman, an American citizen, and her husband Joshua Boyle, a Canadian citizen, were kidnapped in 2012 in while on a backpacking trip.

Coleman, 31, was pregnant at the time of abduction. All of the couple's three children were born in captivity.

The Army statement issued on October 12 did not identify the group which had held the family captive, but the US leadership have blamed Haqqani Network as the perpetrators.

After the recovery of hostages, the military officials emphasised the importance of co-operation and intelligence sharing by

"The success underscores the importance of timely intelligence sharing and Pakistan's continued commitment towards fighting this menace through cooperation between two forces against a common enemy," the Army statement said.

The operation came at a time when is trying to rebuild bilateral ties frayed after President Donald Trump accused the country of sheltering terror groups.

Trump, in August, had accused of harbouring "agents of chaos and terror" and the "very enemy US forces have fighting in Afghanistan" for the past 17 years.

Last week, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif had said his country was ready for a joint operation with the US to destroy the Haqqani Network if it provides evidence about the presence of safe havens of the dreaded terror outfit in

The Haqqani network has carried out a number of kidnappings and attacks against US interests in The group is also blamed for several deadly attacks against Indian interests in Afghanistan, including the 2008 bombing of the Indian mission in Kabul that killed 58 people.

US officials believe Pakistan's spy agency ISI maintains close ties with the Haqqani Network and provides safe havens to its top leadership.

"I think history would indicate that the high expectations for the Pakistanis' willingness to help us in the fight against radical Islamic should be set at a very low level," the CIA chief said.

President Trump has "made it very clear that we are going to do everything we can to bring the Taliban to the negotiation table. To do that, you cannot have a safe haven in The intelligence is very clear," he warned.

Pompeo said "to achieve the objective that the president has set forth in Afghanistan, the capacity of terrorists to cross along the Afghan border and freely hide in is prohibited in our capacity to deliver that and so mission is to ensure that safe haven does not exist".

First Published: Fri, October 20 2017. 21:07 IST
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