All three chil­dren were born in cap­tiv­ity

The Buffalo News - - CON­TIN­UED FROM THE COVER -

the Haqqani net­work, a Tal­iban fac­tion. Cole­man, who had been preg­nant when she was ab­ducted, gave birth to all three of her chil­dren in cap­tiv­ity. Boyle suf­fered mi­nor shrap­nel wounds in the raid, his fam­ily said.

In dra­matic videos re­leased last year by her cap­tors, Cole­man, who is from south-cen­tral Penn­syl­va­nia, had pleaded for her life. In footage de­pict­ing two of her chil­dren, one with a paci­fier, Cole­man de­scribed her time asa­hostageas“Kafkaesque”and said she had been “de­filed.” She urged the U.S. gov­ern­ment to “help stop this de­prav­ity.”

Pres­i­dent Trump praised the Pak­ista­nis for their role in free­ing the fam­ily. “This is a pos­i­tive mo­ment for our coun­try’s re­la­tion­ship with Pak­istan,” Trump said in a state­ment Thurs­day. “The Pak­istani gov­ern­ment’s co­op­er­a­tion is a sign that it is hon­or­ing Amer­ica’s wishes for it to do more to pro­vide se­cu­rity in the re­gion.”

The fam­ily was at the U.S. Em­bassy in Is­lam­abad late Thurs­day, Tariq Azim Khan, a Pak­istani diplo­mat, said in a tele­phone in­ter­view from Lon­don. The Pak­istani mil­i­tary pledged to repa­tri­ate them, and U.S. of­fi­cials were ex­plor­ing how to get the fam­ily out of South Asia. Boyle’s rel­a­tives said they ex­pected him to re­turn home in the com­ing days.

“Josh in­di­cated that they’d like to come back to Canada,” his mother, Linda, said out­side the fam­ily’s stone house in Smiths Falls, Ont., about an hour south­west of Ot­tawa. “That was their plan right now.”

The re­turn trip was com­pli­cated by Boyle’s re­fusal to board an Amer­i­can C-130 trans­port plane to take the fam­ily out of Pak­istan and to Ba­gram Air Base in Afghanistan, where Amer­i­cans have been ac­cused of abus­ing de­tainees. His father said Boyle was philo­soph­i­cally op­posed to trav­el­ing to the base.

After mar­ry­ing in 2011, Cole­man and Boyle spent months trav­el­ing in Cen­tral Amer­ica be­fore leav­ing for a trip through Rus­sia and Cen­tral Asia. They had planned to leave Afghanistan in late 2012 be­cause of Cole­man’s preg­nancy. But they were kid­napped in Oc­to­ber of that year while back­pack­ing in War­dak prov­ince, a mil­i­tant strong­hold near Kabul.

In ex­change for the fam­ily’s free­dom, the Haqqani net­work had pre­vi­ously de­manded the re­lease of Anas Haqqani, one of its com­man­ders. The Afghan gov­ern­ment cap­tured Haqqani in 2014, and he was sen­tenced to death. The mil­i­tant group had threat­ened to kill the fam­ily if he was ex­e­cuted.

Ear­lier at­tempts to bring the fam­ily home fell short. The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion sought to jump-start talks with the Tal­iban but those ef­forts fal­tered after the U.S. mil­i­tary killed Mul­lah Akhtar Muham­mad Man­sour, the Tal­iban’s leader, in a drone strike in May 2016.

Cole­man’s preg­nan­cies added pres­sure to re­solve an al­ready des­per­ate sit­u­a­tion, one in which the Haqqa­nis had re­peat­edly threat­ened to kill the fam­ily, in­clud­ing the chil­dren.

“The like­li­hood of a suc­cess­ful res­cue was pretty much dis­counted in our minds,” said Pa­trick Boyle, father of Joshua Boyle.

The plight of the fam­ily at­tracted widespread at­ten­tion in Canada, al­though not all of it sym­pa­thetic. Deeply in­ter­ested in Is­lam and ter­ror­ism, Boyle was pre­vi­ously mar­ried to the old­est sis­ter of Omar Khadr, a Cana­dian cap­tured by U.S. troops in Afghanistan in 2002 when he was 15 and held for a decade at the wartime prison at Guan­tanamo Bay, Cuba. He was repa­tri­ated in 2012.

Boyle vol­un­teered as a spokesman for Khadr’s rel­a­tives, who did lit­tle to en­dear them­selves to the Cana­dian pub­lic and do­mes­tic se­cu­rity ser­vices, ac­cord­ing to Cana­dian me­dia re­ports. Khadr’s father was killed in 2003 by Pak­istani forces near the Afghan bor­der.

The end of the fam­ily’s cap­tiv­ity was a vic­tory for State Depart­ment of­fi­cials and the FBIled Hostage Re­cov­ery Fu­sion Cell, which had worked on the case for years.

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