Canadian says child killed, wife raped in Afghanistan

Former hostage Joshua Boyle says Haqqani network killed his infant daughter and raped his wife while in captivity.

    Joshua Boyle spoke to the media after arriving with his wife and three children in Toronto [Mark Blinch/Reuters]
    Joshua Boyle spoke to the media after arriving with his wife and three children in Toronto [Mark Blinch/Reuters]

    Former hostage Joshua Boyle said upon arriving back in Canada that the Haqqani network in Afghanistan had killed his infant daughter and raped his wife during the years they were held in captivity.

    Boyle gave the statement shortly after landing in Canada late on Friday with his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, and three young children.

    The couple was rescued on Wednesday, five years after they had been abducted by the Taliban-linked 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.

    'Retaliation'

    "I was in Afghanistan, helping the most neglected minority group in the world; those ordinary villagers who live deep in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, where no NGO, no aid worker or no government has ever been successfully able to bring the necessary help.

    "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 authorising the murder of my infant daughter," he said.

    Boyle said the killing of his daughter was retaliation for his "repeated refusal to accept an offer that the criminal miscreants of the Haqqani network had made to me".

    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.

    On the plane from London, Boyle provided a written statement to The Associated Press saying his family has "unparalleled resilience and determination".

    READ MORE: Family freed from 'Haqqani captivity' in Pakistan

    The handwritten statement Boyle gave AP news agency 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 organised 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.

    "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."

    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.

    Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokesman Nafees Zakaria said the Pakistani raid that led to the family's rescue was based on a tip from US intelligence and shows that Pakistan will act against a "common enemy" when Washington shares information.

    On Saturday, Pakistan's army provided more details of the operation.

    Major General Asif Ghafoor, army spokesman, said soldiers soldiers stopped the fighters' vehicle carrying the family across the border from Afghanistan by firing at its tyres.

    "After that, our first priority was that we rescued the hostages safely," Ghafoor told reporters in Rawalpindi.

    He also showed a video of Boyle lauding Pakistan's army for "being incredibly professional".

    "They have been tremendously secure in their handling and they have taken every effort to make things as easy as possible," said Boyle, clad in the traditional Pakistani dress of a white-coloured shalwar kurta.

    "I did see the proof, and the proof was the car was riddled with bullets. The ISI [Pakistan's spy agency] and the army got between the criminals and the car to make sure that the prisoners were safe and that my family was safem" he added, sitting next to his wife and one of their children.

    "[I hope that] Western media reports will look at Pakistan a little bit differently now, after this has happened, and will understand that it is not a third world disaster area run by incompetent people at all - it is actually ... on our front lines."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


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