Trump praises Pakistan for rescue of North American family

President Trump on Thursday praised the Pakistani government for helping secure the release of a North American family that had been held hostage by a Taliban-linked group.

“This is a positive moment for our country's relationship with Pakistan,” Trump said in a statement, calling it “a sign that it is honoring America's wishes for it to do more to provide security in the region.”

Trump said later Thursday that he believes Pakistan is “starting to respect the United States again.”

“It’s very important,” he said at the White House. “I think a lot of countries are beginning to respect the United States of America once again.”

The statement came after the Pakistani military announced that Caitlan Coleman, a U.S. citizen, and her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle, had been freed after more than five years in captivity. The couple had three children during that time.

ADVERTISEMENT

Coleman and Boyle were abducted while traveling in Afghanistan in October 2012 and held by the Haqqani network, a militant group with ties to the Taliban.

Trump has previously been deeply critical of the Pakistani government’s efforts to fight terrorist groups. He called out Islamabad in an August speech laying out a new U.S. strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia.  

“Pakistan has also sheltered the same organizations that try every single day to kill our people,” he said. “We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting. But that will have to change, and that will change immediately.”

Speaking in Pennsylvania on Wednesday, the president appeared to allude to the hostage rescue and hailed it as a turning point in the U.S.-Pakistan relationship.

“Something happened today where a country that totally disrespected us called with some very, very important news,” he said. 

“It was a great sign of respect," Trump continued. "You'll probably be hearing about it over the next few days. But this is a country that did not respect us. This is a country that respects us now. The world is starting to respect us again, believe me.”

-Updated 11:43 a.m.