Freed hostage says Taliban faction murdered his baby, raped wife
SMITHS FALLS, Canada
Freed hostage Joshua Boyle has told public broadcaster CBC his children are exploring their new home in Canada but are still very fearful after a brutal years-long ordeal at the hands of Taliban-linked kidnappers.
Boyle and his American wife and three children were freed on Oct. 11 in Pakistan after five years of captivity at the hands of the Haqqani network, a militant group that operates on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
In a chilling statement on the family’s arrival in Toronto, Boyle accused his kidnappers of murdering their infant daughter and raping his wife, Caitlan Coleman. He said his priority now was to protect his family.
In a message sent later to Canadian media from his parents’ home town of Smith Falls, around 80 km (50 miles) from Ottawa, the 34-year-old said the family had safely arrived in the first real “home” his children had ever known.
In remarks emailed to CBC, he said the children - boys aged four and two, and a girl just four months old - were starting to adapt to new surroundings after their harrowing ordeal.
The CBC said Boyle told them his four year-old was examining post-it notes and curtains and boardgames.
“Everything in the house, he said, is a wonderland to him, and that said, he is still terrified to leave the house, even to go out on the porch,” CBC correspondent Susan Armiston said.
Boyle said his two-year-old was “nearly as distressed as he was in prison” but his baby girl while scared had also discovered “there are more decent people in the world than she ever knew,” Armiston said.
Boyle and his wife were kidnapped by the Taliban-linked Haqqani network in a remote area of Afghanistan in 2012.
The family was freed by Pakistani troops acting on U.S. intelligence.
Boyle told reporters the network had ordered the killing of their baby - a fourth child, whose existence had not previously been known - as retaliation for his refusal to accept an offer from them.
“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.
Boyle also said his wife had been raped, not by a lone guard but with the aid of the captain of the guard and a Haqqani commander he identified as Abu Hajr.
The Haqqani network is headed by Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is also the Afghan Taliban’s deputy leader.
The faction has long been suspected of having links with Pakistan’s shadowy military establishment.