Ex-Hostage Father Says Captors Killed Infant Daughter
U.S.-Canadian couple Caitlan Coleman and Joshua Boyle landed in Canada late Friday, five years after they were kidnapped in Afghanistan. They arrived with their three young children, who were all born in captivity.
Boyle gave a statement after landing. He said the Haqqani network in Afghanistan killed his infant daughter in captivity and raped his wife.
The couple was rescued Wednesday, five years after they had been abducted by the Taliban-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 Taliban-controlled regions of Afghanistan was eclipsed only by the stupidity and evil of authorizing the murder of my infant daughter,” he said.
The final leg of the family’s journey was an Air Canada flight Friday from London to Toronto.
Coleman, wearing a tan-colored headscarf, sat in the aisle of the business class cabin. 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. U.S. State Department officials were on the plane with them.
Boyle gave The Associated Press a handwritten statement expressing disagreement with U.S. 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 force-fed by their Pakistani rescuers.
The family was able to leave the plane with their escorts before the rest of the passengers. There was about a 5-t o 10-minute delay before everyone else was allowed out.
Dan Boyle, Joshua’s younger brother, said outside the family home in Smith 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.
The Canadian government said in a statement they will “continue to support him and his family now that they have returned.”
“Today, we join the Boyle family in rejoicing over the long-awaited return to Canada of their loved ones,” the Canadian government said.