Haqqani captors killed child, raped wife, Canadian ex-hostage says

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After landing in Canada with his family Friday night, Canadian ex-hostage Joshua Boyle told reporters some frightening news about his family’s ordeal in Afghanistan.

He said the Haqqani network, which held him and his wife captive for five years in Afghanistan, had killed his infant daughter in captivity and raped his wife.

Boyle landed in Canada late Friday with his American wife and three young children.

Caitlan Coleman and Boyle were rescued Wednesday, five years after they had been abducted by the Taliban-linked Haqqani extremist network while in Afghanistan as part of a backpacking trip.

Coleman was pregnant at the time and had four children in captivity.

Government officials said Pakistani forces carried out the rescue mission based on U.S. intelligence information.

The final leg of the family’s journey was an Air Canada flight Friday from London to Toronto.

An American woman, her Canadian husband and their three children arrived in Canada Friday night, returning to the West after being held captive by a Taliban-affiliated group for five years.

The family had left Pakistan on a commercial flight after Boyle reportedly balked at taking a U.S. plane out of Pakistan, fearing that his background could land him in the American detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Boyle was previously married to the sister of Omar Khadr, a Canadian man who spent 10 years at Guantanamo Bay after being captured in 2002 in a firefight at an Al Qaeda compound in Afghanistan.

The U.S. Justice Department said neither Boyle nor Coleman is wanted for any federal crime.

The family landed in Toronto Friday night on an Air Canada flight from London. Coleman, wearing a tan-colored headscarf, sat in the aisle of the business class cabin. She nodded wordlessly when she confirmed her identity to a reporter on board the flight.

In the two seats next to her were her two elder children. In the seat beyond that was Boyle, with their youngest child in his lap. U.S. State Department officials were on the plane with them.

Boyle gave the Associated Press a handwritten statement expressing disagreement with U.S. foreign policy.

“God has given me and my family unparalleled resilience and determination, and to allow that to stagnate, to pursue personal pleasure or comfort while there is still deliberate and organized injustice in the world would be a betrayal of all I believe, and tantamount to sacrilege,” he wrote.

He nodded to one of the State Department officials and said, “Their interests are not my interests.”

He added that one of his children is in poor health and had to be force-fed by their Pakistani rescuers.

The family was able to leave from the plane with their escorts before the rest of the passengers. There was about a 5- to 10-minute delay before everyone else was allowed out.

Coleman, of Stewartstown, Pa., was rescued along with Boyle and their children on Thursday after their captors moved them across the border to Pakistan from Afghanistan. U.S. officials supplied the intelligence used to facilitate the release, Pakistan said.

Shortly before the family landed in Canada Friday night, President Trump tweeted that the U.S. was “starting to develop a much better relationship with Pakistan and its leaders.”

“I want to thank them for their cooperation on many fronts,” Trump added.

U.S. officials have long accused Pakistan of ignoring groups like the Haqqani network, which was holding the family. They call the Haqqani group a terrorist organization and have targeted its leaders with drone strikes. But the group also operates like a criminal network. Unlike ISIS, it does not typically execute Western hostages, preferring to ransom them for cash.

The Haqqani network had previously demanded the release of Anas Haqqani, a son of the founder of the group, in exchange for turning over the American-Canadian family. In one of the videos released by their captors, Boyle implored the Afghan government not to execute Taliban prisoners, or he and his wife would be killed.

Coleman and Boyle were kidnapped in October 2012 while on a backpacking trip that took them to Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and then to Afghanistan. All three of their children were born in captivity.

U.S. officials have said that several other Americans are being held by militant groups in Afghanistan or Pakistan.

They include Kevin King, 60, a teacher at the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul who was abducted in August 2016, and Paul Overby, an author in his 70s who had traveled to the region several times but disappeared in eastern Afghanistan in mid-2014.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Family held captive by Taliban-linked group released

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An American woman, her Canadian husband and their three young children have been released after years held captive by a network with ties to the Taliban.

U.S. officials say Pakistan secured the release of Caitlan Coleman and her husband, Canadian Joshua Boyle. The two were abducted five years ago while traveling in Afghanistan and have been held by the Haqqani network.

Coleman was pregnant when she was captured. The couple had three children while in captivity.

The family’s current location, however, was unclear. And officials declined to say when the family planned to return to North America.

The U.S. has criticized Pakistan for failing to aggressively go after the Haqqanis.

A U.S. national security official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing operation, commended Pakistan for their assistance.

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About two dozen players kneel for national anthem in London

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About two dozen players, including Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs and Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette, took a knee during the playing of the national anthem before the start of the teams’ game at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

Other players on one knee during the performance included Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosley, wide receiver Mike Wallace and safety Lardarius Webb as well as Jaguars linebacker Dante Fowler, defensive tackle Calais Campbell, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

Players on both teams and Jaguars owner Shad Khan, who were not kneeling, remained locked arm-in-arm throughout the playing of the national anthem and “God Save The Queen,” the national anthem of Britain.

No players were kneeling during the playing of the British national anthem.

President Donald Trump had a suggestion on Saturday for National Football League owners whose players decide to take a knee during the national anthem: fire them.

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