Thursday, August 11, 2022

Ex-hostage couple recounts ordeal of captivity in Afghanistan


TORONTO: A Canadian-American couple, freed from the clutches of the Haqqani network in Afghanistan, arrived here Friday night, Canadian media reports said.

Caitlan Coleman, an American citizen and her Canadian husband, Joshua Boyle, were captured from a mountain near Kabul in 2012 and held in captivity for five years.

The couple along with their three children landed at Toronto airport Friday night. Speaking about his ordeal of being held captive in Afghanistan, Boyle said Haqqani Network militants, which held him and his wife in captivity for five years, had killed his infant daughter and raped his wife.

Speaking to reporters at the Toronto airport, he said the Afghan government should provide justice to his family, they owed.

Coleman was pregnant with their first child when they were captured by a militant group. The three children who returned to Canada with their parents — two boys and a girl — were born while the family was being held hostage. The birth of a second girl had been unknown until Boyle made his statement at the airport.

The Pakistan military’s media wing, Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) had announced earlier this week that acting on information provided by the U.S authorities, the forces conducted a rescue operation to secure release of the American-Canadian family.

The couple was kidnapped in October 2012 while on a backpacking trip that took them to Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and then to Afghanistan.

Boyle refuses to fly back home aboard a US military aircraft 

Boyle on Thursday refused a return trip aboard a US military aircraft, over concerns he could face American scrutiny over his previous marriage to the sister of a Guantanamo detainee, AFP added.

He chose to fly back from Islamabad to Canada on commercial airlines via London.

In 2009, Boyle was married to Zaynab Khadr, the sister of Omar Khadr, a Canadian captured in battle in 2002 in Afghanistan and held at the US prison facility at Guantanamo Bay before being turned over to Canada and released in 2015.

Boyle was active in the campaign to win Khadr’s release from Guantanamo and transfer to Canada. On Thursday, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said Boyle was not a target of investigation in Canada.

Boyle’s parents live 80 kilometres southwest of Ottawa.


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