Taliban says freed Canadian hostage's allegations of rape and murder are false

Joshua Boyle speaks to members of the media at Toronto's Pearson International Airport on Friday, October 13, 2017. Boyle, his wife, Caitlan Coleman, and their three children had been held hostage for five years by the Taliban-linked Haqqani network in Afghanistan.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

A spokesman for the Taliban is denying the allegations of a freed Canadian hostage who says his wife was raped and his daughter killed by their abductors.

Upon his return to Canada Friday, Joshua Boyle told reporters that during his five years in captivity, held by the Taliban-linked Haqqani network in Afghanistan, his wife's rape was assisted by the captain of the guard and supervised by the commandant of the network.

He said the Haqqani leadership authorized the murder of his daughter in retaliation for his refusal to accept an offer from the kidnappers, but did not elaborate.

However, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid has released a statement saying Caitlan Coleman had a "natural miscarriage" after an illness that couldn't be treated because they were in a remote area with no doctors.

Mujahid says Boyle and Coleman are now "in the hands of the enemy", and the statement Boyle gave was "force fed" to him.

Mujahid also says "from the time the couple were detained until their release" Boyle and Coleman were never separated because the kidnappers "did not want to incite any suspicion."

"No one has either intentionally murdered the child of this couple and neither has anyone violated or defiled them," Mujahid said in the statement, which was posted to the Taliban media unit's website.

Boyle told The Canadian Press Saturday that conditions during the five-year ordeal changed over time as the family was shuffled among at least three prisons.

He described the first as "remarkably barbaric," the second as more comfortable and the third as a place of violence in which he and his wife were frequently separated and beaten.


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