Rescued son of Pakistan’s former prime minister heads home to his family

The son of a former Pakistani prime minister who was freed from kidnappers in a military rescue in Afghanistan was handed over to Pakistan’s ambassador in Kabul on Wednesday. Ali Haidar Gilani arrived by helicopter at the Afghan ministry of defense in Kabul, where he was greeted with hugs and handshakes by Pakistani ambassador Abrar Hussain. He spent the night at a military base, having medical check-ups but was expected to be flown home to Pakistan in a special plane sent to Kabul by the Islamabad government.

Right now I just want to be reunited with my family and get back to normal life.

Ali Haidar Gilani

Mr Gilani, who had been held for three years, was rescued during a joint U.S.-Afghan commando raid on an al-Qaeda compound near the Pakistani border on Tuesday. He arrived at the ministry with long hair and a heavy beard, wearing a T-shirt, combat trousers and a baseball cap. Speaking in halting English, he thanked Afghan forces for “their sacrifice for someone from another country”. Mr Gilani, the son of former prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, who led several offensives against the Taliban, also thanked U.S. forces for providing shelter, food and medical care.

This raid demonstrates the growing capabilities and effectiveness of the Afghan security forces and is an excellent example of the strong security and intelligence partnership between Afghan and U.S. forces

U.S. secretary of defense Ash Carter praises the rescue