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

Just Posted

Minor hockey’s Langley Cup featured four days of hockey action

The long-running annual tournament featured four divisions March 16 to 19.

LETTER: Grateful for any support on interim tree protection bylaw for Langley

Letter writer Brian Cameron tries clarifying his stance on ALR and trees after councillor’s letter.

Lower Mainland could see spring flurries

Snow expected at higher elevations

Three Giants named to second all-star team

Langley-based G-Men Bowen Byram, Ty Ronning, David Tendeck all recognized by WHL.

Most people seem to like Township’s big plans for Fort Langley

The survey results of a proposed redevelopment project were presented at Monday’s council meeting.

Ottawa proposes restricted pot labels, packages

Packaging will include red stop sign with marijuana leaf and ‘THC’

BCHL Today: Wenatchee goes Wild against Vernon Vipers

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

B.C’s Indigenous tourism takes centre stage in Chilliwack

One-day workshop will look at ways to imbue the industry with authenticity

B.C. landlords collect too much personal information, watchdog says

Report suggests low vacancy rates lead landlords to believe they can collect whatever info they want

Rupert the therapy bunny sidelined due to deadly virus outbreak

Chilliwack’s famous therapy rabbit quarantined for his own safety, people not at risk

Quebec daycare subsidies offer warning for B.C., study says

Over-55 women more likely to join paid workforce than young mothers

5 to start your day

A famous bunny sidelined in Chilliwack, multiple vehicles torched in Aldergrove and more

Travellers urged to be careful after Coquitlam agency’s licence yanked

Regulating body shut down Kimiya Travel Ltd. on Friday

Heavy ice off Canada coast strands pod of dolphins, fixating small town

The small Newfoundland community, Heart’s Delight, is fixated on plight of trapped dolphins

Most Read