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Bomb Kills Pakistani Troops Seeking Captors of Freed Western Family

  • Ayaz Gul

Joshua Boyle speaks to reporters after arriving with his wife and three children at Toronto Pearson International Airport, nearly five years after he and his wife were abducted in Afghanistan in 2012 by the Taliban-allied Haqqani network, in Toronto, Ontario, Oct. 13, 2017.

Officials in Pakistan say a roadside bomb attack Sunday killed at least four soldiers and wounded several others near the Afghan border.

The troops were part of a search party deployed in the Kurram tribal district to hunt down the handlers of a kidnapped American-Canadian family Pakistani forces rescued from captivity last week on a tip from U.S. intelligence, the army said.

The Pakistani Taliban took credit for plotting the bomb attack and gave a much higher death toll for government soldiers than what was officially reported. The militant group often issues inflated casualty tolls for such attacks.

American Caitlan Coleman, 31, her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle, 34, and their three young children were freed Wednesday hours after kidnappers transported them into Kurram from across the porous Afghan border.

Upon arriving in Toronto, Boyle revealed the captors, members of the Taliban-linked Haqqani network, had raped his wife and killed one of couple’s four children, an infant daughter.

The Afghan Taliban Sunday rejected Boyle’s charges as “false and fabricated”, saying they are enemy-driven propaganda to defame the insurgent group. In a statement to the media, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said Coleman had a "natural miscarriage."

Pakistani officials said the driver and three armed men escorting the hostages fled to a nearby Afghan refugee camp after troops shot out the tires of their vehicles.

U.S. President Donald Trump praised and thanked Pakistani leaders for rescuing the family and described the action as “a positive moment” in bilateral relations, which through the years have been periodically marred by mutual distrust and suspicion.

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