An American-Canadian family, released last week after five years in captivity, was kidnapped by the Haqqani network in the Afghan province of Wardak and kept in Pakistan, the speakers of the Afghan Defense and Interior Ministers said on Sunday.
The Pakistani Pakistani Special Services Group, which responded to “real-time” intelligence from American sources, attacked the hijackers as they moved the hostages across the border from Afghanistan.
“Pakistani commandos have taken action at the border, and there has been a shooting, and finally the hostages have been rescued,” said Tariq Azim Khan on Thursday against a Canadian media company.
“One or two (the hijackers) escaped … and a search operation has not yet been completed to catch them.”
General Dawlat Waziri, the chief secretary of the Afghan Ministry of Defense, told Arab News: “We deny it completely.”
The Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman, Najib Danesh, told Arab News: “There is enough evidence to prove that they have been in Pakistan since their kidnapping.”
Waziri said Pakistan freed the hostages on the pretext of rescuing them from kidnappers to “reduce American and international pressure.”
According to media reports a few months ago, the US has backed 50 million dollars in aid to Pakistan because they allegedly did not do enough to fight the terrorist organization that seized the hostages.
On Thursday, US President Donald Trump said the release of the five-member family was “a positive moment for our country’s relations with Pakistan.” The release was made before a meeting of leading US officials with Pakistani leaders and the re-launch of Afghan peace talks in Oman.
Representatives of Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and the USA participate in the talks. However, there are no reports on the Taliban’s participation. Islamabad is under pressure to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table.
Rape is denied
A Taliban spokesman denied Sunday accusations of Joshua Boyle, the former hostage, that one of his children was murdered and his wife was raped while being held captive, according to a Reuters report.
Boyle told reporters shortly after he, his wife, Caitlan Coleman, and their three children returned to Canada on Friday that their kidnappers had murdered a fourth child and raped his wife.
The Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid rejected this as a propaganda of the Western governments that helped save the family.
“We vehemently reject these fake and fabricated allegations of this Canadian family now in the hands of the enemy,” he said in a statement to the media.
“Whatever the message of the enemy wants to put in the mouth, the family is forced to create it.” Boyle urged the Taliban “to provide my family with the justice we deserve”.
Mujahid said the pair had never been deliberately separated to protect their safety. He also denied that her child had been murdered, but acknowledged that a child became ill and died.
“We were in a remote area without access to a doctor and medication that led to the loss of the child,” he said. Three children, all born in captivity, were rescued along with Boyle and Coleman.
The US government calls the Haqqani network “the deadliest and most demanding insurgent group” in Afghanistan.
Their operational chief, Sirajuddin Haqqani, was appointed deputy new Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour in 2015, which strengthened relations between the groups.
The Haqqanis had previously imprisoned the US Army Sergeant Bowenbergdahl, who was released for Taliban prisoners in 2014 and was suspected of two professors, an American and an Australian who were kidnapped in Kabul in 2016.
A high-ranking Afghan government official told Reuters that American and Afghan special units had launched two unsuccessful raids to rescue the professors in Afghanistan, but officials now believe that the couple had been taken to Haqqani hiding across the Pakistan border.