OTTAWA — Joshua Boyle called himself a “pilgrim” who was “engaged in helping” in Afghanistan. A man who crossed into Afghanistan with him described him as an adventurer.
Mr. Boyle, 34, who is from Breslau, Ontario, and his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, 31, were freed along with their three children on Wednesday after five years as hostages of the Haqqani network in Afghanistan, which seized them in October 2012, while they were hiking. They arrived in Toronto on Friday evening.
Emerging from a room at the Toronto airport — where the children, all born in captivity, met their Canadian grandparents for the first time — Mr. Boyle denounced his captors in brief remarks to reporters and gave more details of their horrific ordeal, including the rape of his wife and that the couple had a fourth child, who was killed by their captors.
“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 at the airport.
But he offered little insight into what compelled himself and his wife, who was pregnant at the time they were captured, on their journey in the first place.
Those who knew him before also have little understanding of how he ended up as a hostage in Afghanistan.
Family Freed by Taliban Faction After 5 Years
An American woman, her Canadian husband and their three children have been freed after being held for five years by the Haqqani network, a faction of the Taliban.By THE NEW YORK TIMES on Publish Date October 12, 2017. Photo by SITE Intelligence Group, via Associated Press. Watch in Times Video »