An American woman, her Canadian husband and their three children have been released after five years as hostages of a Taliban-allied insurgent group, US and Pakistani officials said on Thursday.
The operation to free them was undertaken by the Pakistani military in cooperation with US intelligence agencies monitoring the hostages, who discovered that they had entered Pakistan earlier this week.
"All hostages were recovered safe and sound and are being repatriated to the country of their origin,'' the Pakistani military stated.
Their whereabouts was unknown until 2013, when they appeared in two videos asking the US government to free them. In November 2015, Coleman's parents received a letter from their daughter in which she wrote that she had given birth to a second child in captivity, they told Circa News.
They last appeared in a video in December 2016, which showed them with two sons who the couple referred to as their "surviving children." Sources told ABC News that the couple had also had a third child while in captivity.
In the video, Coleman described the "the Kafkaesque nightmare in which we find ourselves" and pleaded with their governments to negotiate a release with their captors.
The Haqqani Network emerged in Afghanistan in the 1970s but its leadership relocated to North Waziristan in Pakistan after the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. While its headquarters remained in Pakistan, the group has continued to carry out deadly attacks in Afghanistan.
In 2015, Pakistan finally outlawed the Haqqani Network, but the government has taken little action against the group until now.
In July, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis told Congress that the US was withholding $50 million in funding from Pakistan because he "could not certify that Pakistan has taken sufficient action against the Haqqani Network."