US thanks Pakistan for rescuing N. American hostages

Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Wednesday received a telephone call from US Vice President Mike Pence who offered thanks for the rescue of an American hostage, her Canadian husband and three children, the Prime Minister’s office said.

The Haqqani Network, a group affiliated with the Afghan Taliban kidnapped the couple in Afghanistan in 2012.

Pakistan Army said last week that security forces rescued the hostages from terrorist custody through an intelligence-based operation after the Islamabad-based American diplomats shared information that the hostages would be shifted to Pakistan’s Kurram tribal region.

“Speaking on behalf of the US government, Vice President Pence thanked the government of Pakistan and praised the professionalism of the Army and the intelligence agencies for the swift response and safe recovery of the US national Caitlin Coleman, her husband Joshua Boyle and their three children,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s office said.

Pence reaffirmed the importance of bilateral relations and said that the US would like to further build this relationship for peace and prosperity of the region, the statement said.

Reaffirming Pakistan’s resolve to eliminate terrorism from its soil, the Prime Minister assured the US Vice President that Pakistan would respond to any actionable intelligence shared by the US side.

The two leaders agreed to maintain high level engagements to strengthen cooperation in areas of mutual interest, the Prime Minister’s office said.

Pence also accepted the invitation of the Prime Minister to visit Pakistan in the near future, it said.

Earlier, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also called to convey the US government’s gratitude for the safe recovery of the hostages, the Prime Minister’s office said.