U.S. military officials were reportedly ready to launch a commando raid deep inside Pakistan to free an American and her family if the Pakistanis did not act against the Taliban-linked Haqqani network that kidnapped the family in 2012.
The New York Times, citing unnamed senior U.S. officials, reported that Navy SEAL Team 6 was mobilized to conduct a rescue days earlier but the operation was called off. The CIA reportedly watched the movement of the family from the camp.
Ambassador David Hale reportedly told the Pakistani government: Resolve the issue or the U.S. will step in. Officials in Pakistan reportedly acted within hours.
The Times reported that if Pakistan failed to act, it would bolster the belief that the country provides a safe haven for the militant network.
Armed with information from U.S. intelligence, Pakistani soldiers staged a dramatic but successful rescue operation last week to free American Caitlan Coleman, 31, and her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle, 34, and their three young children after five years in Haqqani network captivity.
Coleman was pregnant at the time of their abduction and had three more children while she was a hostage. Boyle said after landing in Toronto that the Taliban-linked Haqqani network killed one infant daughter and raped his wife during the years they were held.
Boyle has said conditions during the five-year ordeal changed over time as the family was shuffled among at least three prisons. He has described the first as remarkably barbaric, the second as more comfortable and the third as a place of violence in which he and his wife were frequently separated and beaten.
The CIA did not respond to the Times' request for comment.
Because of information obtained from drone footage, it is believed that the U.S. had long known of their location, as did Pakistan’s military arm ISI, and it was “always a matter of someone pulling the trigger to go over and get them.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report