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Was US ready to send special forces inside Pakistan to rescue Boyle-Coleman family?

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News Analysis |

The United States threatened to send Navy SEALs into Pakistan to rescue Boyle-Coleman family being held hostage by the Taliban-linked Haqqani network. According to sources, David Hale, the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, told country’s government directly that the U.S. would deploy SEAL Team 6 to rescue the family if it did not intervene to secure their release. A CIA drone discovered the family last month as it was “circling a remote valley in northwest Pakistan,” according to The New York Times. The mother and father were kidnapped in October 2012.

The story has not been confirmed by either the US or the Pakistani government. The story comes after the successful operation by the Pakistani Army that led to an end of the five-year captivity of the couple and their children. The operation was hailed by President Trump and was showcased by the Pakistani government as its steadfastness and resolve to fight terrorists. In an interview after he was freed, Mr. Boyle praised the Pakistanis: “Our gratitude is boundless.”

The Pakistani operation and subsequent American praise were like a thunderbolt to both the Indian government and media who were claiming that the Americans were with India on the premise of Pakistan being a terrorist supporter

However, the NYT report claims that the Pakistani cooperation was acquired through coercion. It alleges that a team of its elite Navy SEALs, famous for the raid that assassinated Al Qaeda’s Osama Bin Laden, was ready to be utilized in securing the hostages on Pakistani soil. However, the US warned Pakistan beforehand so in order to utilize Pakistani boots on the ground for the operation.

Read more: Trump tweets thanks to Pakistan

The US has continuously violated Pakistani sovereignty since its invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. The continuous drone strikes and the May 2, 2011, assassination of Osama Bin Laden are the most prominent examples. According to NYT, what stayed the hand of the US this time was confusion that whether the hostages were the family in question as well as the difficulties in terrain and brightness of the moon. This assertion seems unlikely in the face of various US operations such as drone attacks that were based on assumptions and scant intelligence.

The successful military operation by the Pakistani forces was cast in uncertainty when reports in western media emerged that the hostages were freed through a swap or under the tables deal by the Pakistani military

Furthermore, some assert that this report seems to be another in the chain of a negative media campaign targeting the Pakistan-US cooperation against militancy. The successful military operation by the Pakistani forces was cast in uncertainty when reports in western media emerged that the hostages were freed through a swap or under the tables deal by the Pakistani military. It took a statement by one of the hostages, Mr. Boyle who described a firefight and Pakistani soldiers shielding the family from their captors to put all such rumors to rest.

Read more: Will the rescue of the hostages be the positive turning point…

However, soon after the statement, this new report has emerged which while accepting the Pakistani military operation is now casting doubts on Pakistan’s commitment to fighting militancy. And no more has this report been widely received than in the Indian media. The Pakistani operation and subsequent American praise were like a thunderbolt to both the Indian government and media who were claiming that the Americans were with India on the premise of Pakistan being a terrorist supporter. The current report can be used by the Indian media as a vindication of their claims to the local audience.


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