A freed Canadian hostage said his captors killed his baby daughter and raped his wife during the five years his family were held against their will in Afghanistan. Joshua Boyle told reporters about his horrific ordeal after landing in Canada late on Friday with his wife, Caitlan Coleman, and three young children.
They were rescued on Wednesday, five years after they had been abducted by the Taliban-linked extremist Haqqani network while on a backpacking trip in Afghanistan. Ms Coleman was pregnant at the time and had four children in captivity. The birth of the fourth child was not known until the family arrived home.
‘The stupidity and evil of the Haqqani network’s kidnapping of a pilgrim and his heavily pregnant wife engaged in helping ordinary villagers in Taliban-controlled regions of Afghanistan was eclipsed only by the stupidity and evil of authorising the murder of my infant daughter,’ Mr Boyle said. Mr Boyle said his wife was raped by a guard who was assisted by his superiors. He then asked for the Afghan government to bring them to justice.
‘God willing, this litany of stupidity will be the epitaph of the Haqqani network,’ he said. He said he was helping villagers living deep inside Taliban-controlled Afghanistan where no aid worker or government official has managed to penetrate. On the plane from London, Mr Boyle provided a written statement to The Associated Press saying his family has ‘unparalleled resilience and determination’.
Ms Coleman, who is from Stewartstown, Pennsylvania, sat in the aisle of the business-class cabin wearing a tan-coloured headscarf. She nodded wordlessly when she confirmed her identity to a reporter on board the flight. In the two seats next to her were her two elder children.
In the seat beyond that was Mr Boyle, with their youngest child in his lap. US State Department officials were on the plane with them. The handwritten statement that Mr Boyle gave the AP expressed disagreement with US foreign policy. ‘God has given me and my family unparalleled resilience and determination, and to allow that to stagnate, to pursue personal pleasure or comfort while there is still deliberate and organised injustice in the world would be a betrayal of all I believe, and tantamount to sacrilege,’ he wrote.
He nodded to one of the State Department officials and said: ‘Their interests are not my interests.’ He added that one of his children is in poor health and had to be force-fed by their Pakistani rescuers.
‘It will be of incredible importance to my family that we are able to build a secure sanctuary for our three surviving children to call a home,’ he said in his later statement at the airport. ‘To try to regain some portion of the childhood that they have lost.’ The Canadian government said in a statement that they will continue to support him and his family. ‘Today, we join the Boyle family in rejoicing over the long-awaited return to Canada of their loved ones,’ the Canadian government said. Pakistan’s foreign ministry spokesman, Nafees Zakaria, said the Pakistani raid that led to the family’s rescue was based on a tip from US intelligence and shows that Pakistan will act against a ‘common enemy’ when Washington shares information.