Pakistan Army Rescues Kidnapped U.S. Canadian Couple And ...

US President Donald Trump himself disclosed on Thursday that his administration had secured the release of an American citizen and her Canadian husband who had been taken captive in 2012 and held hostage by the Haqqani network, a terrorist organization the US had once described as a veritable ''fighting arm of the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI.''

''Yesterday, the United States government, working in conjunction with the Government of Pakistan, secured the release of the Boyle-Coleman family from captivity in Pakistan,'' Trump said in a statement on Thursday, referring to Caitlan Coleman and Joshua Boyle who were kidnapped near the Pak-Afghan border, without details as to how they were released. The statement disclosed that Ms. Coleman gave birth to the couple's three children while they were in captivity.

The release came days after Washington turned the heat on Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khwaja Asif during his visit to the US, following up on warnings - including some issued by President Trump himself -- that the US would take punitive action against Pakistan for its continued sponsorship of terrorism. The steps being considered included aid cut off, resumption of drone strikes, ending its status as a major non-NATO ally, and in an extreme scenario, designation of Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism.

A Pakistani bank and its national airline PIA also came under intense scrutiny and pressure as the US tightened the screws, with Trump administration officials warning that they would act in consort with their Nato allies to bring Pakistan to heel.

Despite a public show of bravado, the first sign of Pakistan capitulating came when Foreign Minister Asif returned to Islamabad and announced Pakistan was ready for joint operation with the US to destroy Haqqani Network, virtually throwing its terrorist proxies under the bus. It was the US General Mike Mullen who had once described the Haqqani network as a virtual ''fighting arm of the ISI.'

The Pakistani cave-in also came at a time its economy is on the verge of a collapse, with an imminent devaluation on the cards following a steep decline in exports and a growing trade deficit, among other economic woes. Infusion of foreign money and institutional support is seen as necessary to save the country's economy despite its much-ballyhooed support from China.

Trump was chuffed with the initial success of the US pressure tactic. ''This is a positive moment for our country's relationship with Pakistan. The Pakistani government's cooperation is a sign that it is honoring America's wishes for it to do more to provide security in the region. We hope to see this type of cooperation and teamwork in helping secure the release of remaining hostages and in our future joint counterterrorism operations,'' he said.

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