Canadian hostage's 'daughter murdered, wife raped' during years of captivity by Taliban-linked militants

Canadian hostage's 'daughter murdered, wife raped' during years of captivity by Taliban-linked militants
A Canadian man held hostage along with his family by Afghan militant group the Haqqani network has spoken of his harrowing capture.
3 min read
14 October, 2017

A Canadian man held hostage along with his family by the Afghan insurgent group the Haqqani network for five years, has accused the militants of murdering his infant daughter and raping his wife.

Joshua Boyle was held captive by the Haqqani network, a Taliban-affiliated group operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan but freed this week by Pakistani troops.

He, his American wife Caitlan Coleman, and their three children arrived in Boyle's native Canada on Friday.

During a tense media statement Boyle condemned Haqqani network's "stupidity and evil of authorising the murder of my infant daughter". 

He said this was in "retaliation for my repeated refusal to accept an offer that the miscreant of the Haqqani network had made to me, and the stupidity and evil of the subsequent rape of my wife".

He said the guard rapist was aided by a captain and a Haqqani commander he identified as Abu Hajr.

In a video of the captives released in August 2016, Boyle warned that the militants would murder his family if the hostage takers' demands were not met.

In an earlier statement by Boyle about the Pakistani raid that led to his release, he said the fighters were ordered by a commander to murder the hostages before they were killed by troops.

The Haqqani group is led by Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is also serves as the Afghan Taliban's deputy leader.

It is long suspected of having links with Pakistan's shadowy military establishment.

Boyle said the death of his daughter and his wife's rape occurred in 2014, but did not add more details.

He and Coleman - who was then "heavily pregnant" - were kidnapped two years earlier in an area of Afghanistan know for its Taliban presence.

He described himself and his wife as "pilgrims" helping poor villagers when they were captured.

The three children who survived the ordeal were all born in captivity.

"Obviously it will be of incredible importance to my family to build a secure sanctuary to call a home, to focus on edification and to regain some portion of the childhood they have lost," he said.

The Canadian government welcomed the family's arrival.

"Today, we join the Boyle family in rejoicing over the long-awaited return to Canada of their loved ones," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

"Canada has been actively engaged on Mr. Boyle's case at all levels, and we will continue to support him and his family now that they have returned," it said, asking that the family's privacy be respected.

Pakistani forces acted on information received from the US intelligence services and launched a raid to free the hostages.

Speaking from Toronto, Boyle denied earlier reports that he had refused a return trip aboard a US military aircraft allegedly fearing arrest in the states.

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 as a teenager in Afghanistan.

Omar Khadr had been held at at Guantanamo Bay by the US 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.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said Boyle was not a target of investigation in Canada.