The Canadian-American family that was held hostage for five years by the Haqqani network, a Taliban-affiliated insurgent group in Afghanistan, described the circumstances they were held in as a ‘Kafkaesque nightmare.
American Caitlan Coleman said her “children have seen their mother defiled.”
The family was rescued on Thursday after Pakistani security forces ambushed their captors. The family left Pakistan for an undisclosed location, according to US officials, after Boyle refused to board a US transport plane over concerns about his background.
Boyle was formerly married to Zaynab Khadr, the older sister of Omar Khadr, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee, and the son of a prominent Al-Qaeda financier. Omar Khadr – then only 15 years old – was captured by US forces following a firefight that left a US Army Sergeant dead in 2002.
Here are some horrific details about the conditions they faced during their time in captivity, from The Toronto Star:
- They were held in an underground prison Coleman claimed that she had been sexually assaulted or raped by their captors Coleman gave birth to three children in captivity, and Boyle delivered at least one with a flashlight in his mouth before captors brought them “all [their] postpartum needs.” Boyle says he tried to “play Beautiful Life” for his kids, referencing the 1997 Italian film “Life is Beautiful” about a father who tries to convince his son that the concentration camp they are both in during WWII is just pretend Boyle says the last thing he heard from his captors while the family was in the trunk of a car during a firefight was “kill the hostages.” The captors, however, were killed by Pakistani forces before they could follow through
Read the rest of The Star’s report here.
Editor’s note: The quote about the couple’s children seeing their mother defiled was initially misattributed to Joshua Boyle. The quote was in fact from his wife Caitlan Coleman.