On Thursday, U.S. and Pakistani officials announced the release of the couple and the three children they had in captivity, a welcome development in a odd tale that vexed federal investigators for years and became part of the political debate over the U.S. government's obligation to Americans held as hostages overseas.
Taliban sources said the family spent most of their captivity at Haqqani strongholds inside Pakistan, and not in Afghanistan as early Pakistani reports had indicated.
The family's precise whereabouts were unclear as of Thursday midday.
U.S. intelligence agencies, it said, had been tracking them and shared their shifting across to Pakistan on October 11, 2017 through Kurram Agency border. "All hostages were recovered safe and sound and are being repatriated to the country of their origin", the military said.
Details on the operation were scant, but Coleman, of Stewartstown, Pa., and Boyle, the son of a Canadian judge, and their children were reportedly at the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan on Thursday.
"This is a positive moment for our country's relationship with Pakistan", President Donald Trump said in a statement.
"The Pakistani government´s cooperation is a sign that it is honoring America´s wish that it do more to provide security in the region", Trump told reporters.
Pakistani officials bristle at claims Islamabad is not doing enough to tackle Islamist militants.
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The family was rescued on Thursday after Pakistani security forces ambushed their captors.
But one USA official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was no indication that the hostages had been in Afghanistan in the days before they were freed, contrary to the Pakistani account.
A US government source in Washington also said there was no indication the family had been in Afghanistan.
The couple were kidnapped in Afghanistan in 2012, and US intelligence on Wednesday told Pakistan that the hostages had been moved over the border into northwestern Pakistan, according to an army statement.
Just over five years ago, soon after they Wednesday, Caitlan Coleman and Joshua Boyle set off on a journey to areas of the world infrequently traveled by Westerners, an admittedly quixotic trek their parents say was in keeping with the couple's adventure-seeking spirit.
Canada's Toronto Star newspaper reported that Boyle told his parents that he asked to be taken to the Canadian High Commission in Islamabad after their rescue.
Boyle had been a staunch critic of the human rights abuses in the US war on terror after the attacks on September 11, 2001 and was previously married for a year to the sister of an inmate at the USA military detention center at Guantanamo Bay.
He said there had been a shootout and the last words he heard from the kidnappers were "kill the hostages".