Ali Haider Gilani, son of Pakistan’s former prime minister, freed in raid

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The son of former Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani has been freed during a deadly raid in eastern Afghanistan, officials say, just a day after the third anniversary of his kidnapping in central Pakistan.

Ali Haider Gilani, whose father served as Pakistan’s prime minister from 2008 to 2012, was freed on early Tuesday during a raid carried out in the Giyan District of Paktika Province, which borders Pakistan. Both Afghan commandos and U.S. Special Operations Forces participated in the operation.

“The counterterror mission was planned and launched after evidence of terrorist activity was confirmed,” U.S. Forces Afghanistan said in a press statement. “Four enemy combatants were killed as a result of the operation. No other injuries or damage was observed or reported.”

Ali Haider Gilani had been missing since May 9, 2013, when he was taken at gunpoint from an election rally in Multan in central Pakistan. The attack, which left two people dead and four others wounded, happened just two days before the country’s general election.

It is unclear who was responsible for Gilani’s initial kidnapping in 2013, but it is believed that he was sold by militant groups during his captivity. Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan, Omar Zakhilwal, said on Tuesday that Ali Haider Gilani was being held by an al-Qaeda affiliated group when he was freed.

“[Ali Haider Gilani] is well and will be repatriated to his family soon,” the ambassador said in a statement. “Earlier I called Mr. Yusuf Reza Gilani and informed him about the good news. He was ecstatically delighted as expected and grateful of President Ghani’s personal attention to his son’s safe release.”

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