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Canadian hostages held for 5 years in Afghanistan freed

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A still image from a video posted by the Taliban on social media

An American-Canadian couple and their three children who had been held hostage by the Afghan Taliban has been freed following an operation along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region, the Pakistan Army said on Thursday.

A second Pakistani security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said USA drones had been circling the town of Kohat, on the edge of the tribal areas on Wednesday, suggesting U.S.co-operation included sophisticated surveillance inside Pakistan.

The Toronto Star reported that Boyle told his parents that he was in the trunk of the kidnappers' vehicle with his wife and children when they were rescued by Pakistani forces. This is a positive moment for our country's relationship with Pakistan.

"They really and truly believed that if people were loved and treated with respect that that would be given back to them in kind", Linda Boyle, Boyle's mother, told The Associated Press in a 2014 interview. The AP reported in June 2014 about the existence of videos received by Coleman's father in which the couple - Coleman, in a conservative black garment and Boyle with a long, untrimmed beard - implored the US government to help free them.

A USA military official said American forces were not involved in any rescue, but that a medical team had been able to meet the family and stood ready to fly them home if needed.

The Toronto Star reported that the last words Boyle heard from the kidnappers were "kill the hostages".

It was unclear how precisely the Pakistani military secured the family's release, which came after the United States shared intelligence about the hostages' location.

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The families at the time said they were making the videos public in light of the publicity surrounding the rescue, days earlier, of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

"It was a matter of interdicting vehicles", another US official told Reuters, saying the United States never dictated to Pakistan how precisely to secure the hostages' release.

Ms Coleman, 32, was seven months pregnant when she and her Canadian husband, Josh Boyle, 34, were abducted in Afghanistan 2012 and held by the Haqqani network - a group with ties to the Taliban.

The last time anyone heard from Coleman, the York County native spoke of the "Kafkaesque nightmare" she and her husband had been trapped in for almost five years. "We stand ready to support them as they begin their healing journey", Freeland said.

Thursday's statement from the Pakistani army was the first mention of a third child.

Pakistan's military on Thursday recovered five foreign hostages captured from Afghanistan in 2012.

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