Friday , November 24 2017

‘Child killed, wife raped’ – Freed family reaches Canada

In this image from video released by Taliban Media in December 2016, Caitlan Coleman talks in the video while her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle holds their two children. (Taliban Media via AP)

TORONTO, Oct 14, (AP): Former hostage Joshua Boyle says the Haqqani network in Afghanistan killed his infant daughter and raped his American wife during the five years they were held in captivity. Boyle gave the statement shortly after landing in Canada late Friday with his wife, Caitlan Coleman, and three young children.

The couple was rescued Wednesday, five years after they had been abducted by the Taleban-linked extremist network while in Afghanistan as part of a backpacking trip. Coleman was pregnant at the time and had four children in captivity. The birth of the fourth child had not been publicly known before Boyle appeared before journalists at the Toronto airport. “The stupidity and evil of the Haqqani network’s kidnapping of a pilgrim and his heavily pregnant wife engaged in helping ordinary villagers in Taleban-controlled regions of Afghanistan was eclipsed only by the stupidity and evil of authorizing the murder of my infant daughter,” he said. Boyle said his wife was raped by a guard who was assisted by his superiors. He 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 in Afghanistan to help villagers “who live deep inside Taleban-controlled Afghanistan where no NGO, no aid worker and no government has ever successfully been able to bring the necessary help.” On the plane from London, Boyle provided a written statement to The Associated Press saying his family has “unparalleled resilience and determination.” Coleman, who is from Stewartstown, Pennsylvania, sat in the aisle of the business-class cabin wearing a tan-colored 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 Boyle, with their youngest child in his lap. US State Department officials were on the plane with them. The handwritten statement that 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 organized 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 forcefed by their Pakistani rescuers.

The family was able to leave the plane with their escorts before the rest of the passengers. There was a short delay before everyone else was allowed out. “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.” Dan Boyle, Joshua’s younger brother, said outside the family home in Smiths Falls, Ontario, that he had spoken to his brother a few times in the past few days. “He’s doing very well. He sounds a lot like how he sounded five years ago. He sounds like he had his head on his shoulders and his wits about him,” he said.

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