Joshua Boyle, who returned home to Canada on Friday evening
after a five year ordeal, was told by one of the captors that
Trump had been
elected president late last year prior to filming a
“It didn’t enter my mind that he was being serious,” Boyle
told The Toronto Star, in a wide-ranging interview from
Boyle’s parents house outside of Toronto.
Boyle, and his wife, Caitlan Coleman, were
kidnapped by the Taliban-allied Haqqani network after
traveling to Kabul, Afghanistan in 2012.
The couple was was held in a series of tiny, underground cells
along the Afghanistan-Pakistan with little access to television,
radio, or any reading materials.
Boyle told The Star that some of the cells they were held in were
no larger than a bathtub, and the only entertainment they were
provided was a piece of chalk and a slate.
He also recounted
horrific details of the ordeal, alleging that his wife had
been raped by the captors and was forced to abort a baby.
Coleman and Boyle had three children in captivity, who are now
adjusting to life in Canada. Coleman was five months pregnant
when she was kidnapped, and the couple told The Star they kept
Coleman’s second pregnancy secret, right up until the moment of
The family was freed by Pakistani security officers, operating on
US intelligence, in a
bloody shootout that left their captors dead.
initially reluctant to get on a US transport plane after
being freed. One US official told The Associated
Press that Boyle had been nervous about being in “custody”
because of his background, though another official clarified that
the family was not formally in US custody.
The family took a commercial flight back to Canada.
Boyle’s trip to Afghanistan raised eyebrows. He 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
And Coleman’s father, Jim Coleman,
told “Good Morning America” on Friday: “Taking your pregnant
wife to a very dangerous place, to me, and the kind of person I
am, it’s unconscionable.”
Boyle responded, saying that he is a “harmless hippie,” and that
he and Coleman went to Afghanistan for humanitarian reasons.
“Anybody who knows me would laugh at the notion that I went with
designs on becoming a combatant,” Boyle told The Star.
As for his captors, Boyle told The Star the Haqqani network “are
people who have no relationships in life that are not purely
“They have no real friends, only cohorts. They have no wives,
children. Those we met who were not orphans spoke of hating their
parents,” Boyle added.
For now, Boyle said he’s looking forward to spending quality time
with his kids. Boyle told The Star his oldest child, Jonah, aged
4, was “so excited” to be free “he just wanted to sit on his pile
of toys with a gigantic smile on his face.”
“He wanted to sit there and bask in being ‘no bandi’ after all of
this time,” Boyle said. “Bandi,” according to the Star, is what
Haqqani captors call their hostages.