10 Ab­ducted fam­ily freed af­ter gun bat­tle

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

StarMetro Vancouver - - CANADA -

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.

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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