KABUL – The Afghan Taliban have categorically rejected CIA chief Mike Pompeo’s claim that the Canadian-American family were held hostage inside Pakistan for five years before being released.
‘They were not on Pakistan’s soil but in Paktia [province of] Afghanistan,’ Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid stated.
Mujahid added that only a few days before their rescue, the hostage family was transferred via the Pak-Afghan border area to Kunar province, Express Tribune reported.
American Caitlin Coleman and her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle, who had been kidnapped while backpacking in Afghanistan in 2012 by the Taliban-allied Haqqani network, were rescued by Pakistan Army last week.
According to the military’s media wing, the ISPR, the rescue took place in Kurram Agency on a tip-off from US intelligence agencies.
The successful rescue by Pakistan Army won appreciation from US President Donald Trump who said the release of the hostage family from the Haqqani network “is an indication of a better working relationship with Pakistan”.
Trump’s praise followed a scathing allegation by the CIA director, who in a conversation with Washington-based think tank, the Foundation for Defence of Democracies, alleged that the four US citizens had been kept in captivity for five years in Pakistan.
“We had a great outcome last week when we were able to get back four US citizens who had been held for five years inside of Pakistan” the CIA director said.