Canadian family held captive by Taliban-linked group leave Pakistan

Canadian family held captive by Taliban-linked group leave Pakistan

The family, with three young children, had been held captive for years

A Canadian man and his family have left Pakistan after being freed from a Taliban-linked group that held them hostage for five years, officials in the country said Friday.

Joshua Boyle, his American wife Caitlan Coleman and their three young children were rescued in a raid carried out by Pakistani commandos on Wednesday after the family and their captors crossed the border from Afghanistan.

Pakistani security officials said the family left by plane from Islamabad, but did not say where the family was headed. The BBC was reporting early Friday that the family was headed to London, England.

Boyle and Coleman were kidnapped in Afghanistan in October 2012 while on a backpacking trip. All three of their children were born in captivity.

Related: Canadian-American family held captive by Taliban-linked group released

Pakistan said Thursday that it had rescued the family in “an intelligence-based operation” after their captors moved them across the border from Afghanistan.

Boyle’s parents, who live in Smiths Falls, Ont., said Thursday evening that their son and his family intend to come to Canada.

Patrick Boyle said the family was safe “but exhausted.”

“(Joshua) said they’ve all been up since Tuesday so he was very pleased, he’s running on empty,” he said outside his home, noting that the family was “over the top” at the word of the release.

“We struggled with every dark spot in the last five years, today that’s sort of parked.”

Coleman’s parents said they were relieved to be able to speak with their daughter after five years but her father said he was angry at Joshua Boyle for taking his daughter to Afghanistan.

“Taking your pregnant wife to a very dangerous place, to me, and the kind of person I am, is unconscionable,” he told ABC News.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, who has met with the Boyle family in the past, said Thursday that they had endured an “absolutely horrible ordeal.”

Freeland refused to describe the circumstances of the release, citing security reasons but said Canada had been working with the U.S., Pakistan and Afghanistan, whom she thanked.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, speaking in Mexico City, thanked U.S. and Pakistani officials for their efforts in freeing the captives.

“We’re pleased that the ordeal they’ve been through over these past years has finally come to an end,” Trudeau said Thursday night during a news conference.

Related: Omar Khadr wants unfettered access to sister, other bail changes

The release came nearly five years to the day since Boyle and Coleman lost touch with their families while travelling in a mountainous region near the Afghan capital, Kabul.

The couple had set off in the summer 2012 for a journey that took them to Russia, the central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and then to Afghanistan. Coleman’s parents last heard from their son-in-law on Oct. 8, 2012, from an internet cafe in what Boyle described as an “unsafe” part of Afghanistan.

— With files from The Associated Press

The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A woman wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 uses walking sticks while walking up a hill, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Interior Health reports 83 more COVID-19 infections overnight

46 cases are now associated with a COVID-19 community cluster in Revelstoke

The Kimberley Nordic Club has outlined their plans for a safe season of winter sport amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo courtesy of Kimberley Nordic Centre.
Kimberley Nordic Club details plans for safe season of winter sport

The Kimberley Nordic Club has released their plan to re-open for the… Continue reading

A man wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Vancouver on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
212 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

A total of 490 cases remain active; 15 in hospital

(Black Press file photo)
RCMP seeking driver of burnt out car found on HaHa Creek Road

Cranbrook RCMP are looking for the driver of a vehicle that was found on fire Monday

Starting in January of 2021, the RDEK will be removing yellow bins designated for glass collections. East Kootenay residents will be able to recycle their glass at one of the many Recycle BC depots across the region. (RDEK file)
Changes coming to RDEK glass recycling program

Starting in January 2021, glass will no longer be collected through the yellow bin program

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
B.C.’s largest COVID-19 care-home outbreak records 19 deaths, 147 cases

Tabor Home in Abbotsford has been battling outbreak since Nov. 4

Most Read