Ab­ducted fam­ily freed after gun bat­tle with kid­nap­pers

Week­end, Oc­to­ber 13-15, 2017 Tal­iban-linked group held Cana­dian, wife, kids for 5 years Canada

Metro Canada (Calgary) - - CANADA - TOrsTar NeWs ser­vice THe caNa­DiaN Press

Cana­dian Joshua Boyle, his American wife Cait­lan Coleman and their chil­dren are fi­nally free after five years held hostage in Afghanistan by the Tal­iban­linked Haqqani net­work.

Boyle called his par­ents early Thurs­day morn­ing to tell of their res­cue. He also told his father that they’ve had a third baby in cus­tody, a lit­tle girl who was born two months ago.

“Josh said he was do­ing pretty well for some­one who has spent the last five years in an un­der­ground prison,” Pa­trick Boyle told Torstar News Ser­vice early Thurs­day.

The young fam­ily is in Pak­istan and plans were un­der­way mid­day Thurs­day to fly them home.

Boyle told his par­ents that he was in the trunk of the kid­nap­pers’ car with his wife and chil­dren when Pak­istani forces res­cued them. He said his kid­nap­pers were killed in a shootout that left him with mi­nor shrap­nel wounds. The last words Boyle said he heard from the kid­nap­pers were, “kill the hostages.”

Other me­dia re­ports have quoted Pak­istani and American of­fi­cials say­ing the cap­tors fled on foot.

They are re­port­edly trau­ma­tized by both the vi­o­lence of the Thurs­day morn­ing res­cue and their long cap­tiv­ity, but healthy and re­cov­er­ing.

Boyle, 34, and Coleman, 31, were kid­napped by the Haqqani net­work in Oc­to­ber 2012. Coleman was five-months preg­nant at the time and the cou­ple was back­pack­ing through Cen­tral Asia. Their fam­i­lies did not know they had crossed into Afghanistan.

Coleman gave birth to her first son in cus­tody, fol­lowed by a sec­ond boy a few years later.

In a let­ter to his par­ents from cap­tiv­ity, Boyle de­scribed de­liv­er­ing the child in se­cret, by flash­light. “Ta-da!” he wrote. “The as­ton­ished cap­tors were good and brought all our post­par­tum needs, so he is now fat and healthy, praise God.”

A “proof-of-life” video showed the chil­dren alive for the first time last De­cem­ber.

In the video, Coleman ap­peals to the U.S. and Afghan gov­ern­ment, call­ing their plight “Kafkaesque.”

The cou­ple’s daugh­ter was born this sum­mer.

Pak­istan’s gov­ern­ment is­sued a press re­lease Thurs­day con­firm­ing the res­cue “through an in­tel­li­gence-based op­er­a­tion by Pak­istan troops and in­tel­li­gence agen­cies.”

The state­ment said that U.S. agen­cies had been tracking the fam­ily and kid­nap­pers as they crossed into the Kur­ram Agency, an area in Pak­istan on the bor­der with Afghanistan, on Wed­nes­day. The res­cue was based “on ac­tion­able in­tel­li­gence from U.S. au­thor­i­ties,” the state­ment said.

For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Chrys­tia Free­land ex­pressed re­lief that the fam­ily had been re­leased.

“Canada has been ac­tively en­gaged with the gov­ern­ments of the United States, Afghanistan and Pak­istan and we thank them for their ef­forts, which have re­sulted in the re­lease of Joshua, Cait­lan and their chil­dren,” Free­land said in a state­ment. CaP­tiv­ity July 2012: Joshua Boyle and Cait­lan Coleman travel to Rus­sia. They later move on to Kaza­khstan, Ta­jik­istan, Kyr­gyzs­tan and fi­nally to Afghanistan over the course of sev­eral months. oct. 8, 2012: Coleman’s father hears from Boyle for the last time be­fore the cou­ple is cap­tured. Boyle said he was in an in­ter­net café in what he de­scribed as an “un­safe” part of Afghanistan. The last with­drawals from the cou­ple’s bank ac­count were made Oct. 8 and 9 in Kabul. An Afghan of­fi­cial later said the cou­ple had been ab­ducted in War­dak Prov­ince, a rugged, moun­tain­ous Tal­iban haven. Late 2012 or early 2013: Coleman’s first child is born. Coleman was preg­nant at the time of her cap­ture, and her due date was in De­cem­ber 2012. June 4, 2014: Coleman’s fam­ily re­leases two videos of Coleman and Boyle in cap­tiv­ity, say­ing the clips were pro­vided to the fam­ily in 2013. novem­ber 2015: Coleman’s fam­ily gets a let­ter from Coleman in which she says she has given birth to a sec­ond child. aug. 30, 2016: A video of Coleman and Boyle is posted on YouTube. A Tal­iban of­fi­cial has said the video was recorded in 2015. De­cem­ber 2016: An­other video is posted on­line, this time fea­tur­ing Coleman, Boyle and their two young chil­dren. oct. 12, 2017: U.S. of­fi­cials say Pak­istan se­cured the fam­ily’s re­lease.

Coleman Fam­ily/The as­so­Ci­aTed Press

this im­age from a 2013 mil­i­tant video given to the fam­ily shows Cana­dian Joshua Boyle and his wife Cait­lan Coleman.

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