American Caitlan Coleman, whom the Taliban took hostage while she was pregnant and held her captive in Afghanistan for five years, placed blame for the ordeal on her Canadian husband and fellow captive, Joshua Boyle, saying his sympathies towards the group led to their travel to the country and her having three children in captivity, ABC News reported Wednesday.
In an exclusive interview, Coleman told ABC News she learned Boyle was “sympathetic to the Taliban” when he told her in the middle of their South Asia trip that they would “dip in” to Afghanistan for a few days:
Boyle assured Coleman the Taliban narco-jihadis, who at the time had been engaged in a war with U.S.-NATO-led troops for more than a decade would welcome him with open arms “as a guest.” The U.S. invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 and removed the Taliban regime for sheltering al-Qaeda before the September 11, 2001, attacks on the American homeland.
Coleman said she objected to going into Taliban territory, but she was “not given a choice” by Boyle, who was carrying their money and passports.
The Taliban and their al-Qaeda-linked affiliate, the Haqqani Network, kidnapped the couple in October 2012 and held them for five years until their release to Canada in October 2017. Coleman gave birth to three children in captivity.
ABC News reported:
Having finally fled from Canada to the United States with her four young children, Coleman can finally say what many previously suspected – that she was a prisoner not only to Islamic militants, but also to her own husband. … Coleman told ABC News that Boyle was a Taliban sympathizer, and he gave her “no choice” but to accompany him to Afghanistan, where he subjected her to years of “extreme” abuse during their captivity in Pakistan.
“Not only was it psychological, it was physical, it was sexual,” Coleman told ABC News. “I was actually more afraid of him than of the captors.”
“He restricted pretty much everything,” Coleman added, referring to her life with Boyle in Canada. “I had no freedom, as far as, you know, where I would go, who I would talk to, how I would dress, what I would say.”
ABC News reported that Boyle refused to comment on Coleman’s allegation via his criminal defense attorney, Lawrence Greenspon.
According to Coleman, the abuse at the hands of her husband continued after they returned home in Canada, ultimately forcing her to flee to the United States.
Soon after their release in October 2017, Canadian authorities arrested Boyle on December 30 of that year, reportedly charging him with “19 criminal violations, including repeatedly assaulting, raping, drugging and unlawfully confining his wife, all of which allegedly took place after their arrival in Canada.”
The allegedly abusive husband pled not guilty. In the wake of their release, Boyle has provided different explanations for his reason to travel to Afghanistan in 2012 with his wife, who was then six months pregnant.
Boyle reportedly protested against the U.S. detention center in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and was briefly married to Zaynab Khadr, the Canadian daughter of a senior al-Qaeda aide to the late 9/11 mastermind, Osama Bin Laden.
“He would always tell me, ‘I think they’re [Taliban] misrepresented in the West. I think they’re good people. When you meet them, you’re gonna see,’” Coleman told ABC News. “So I saw. And they are, with the exception of my husband, the worst people that I’ve ever known in my life.”
The Afghanistan war has come at a tremendous cost to the Afghans, with tens of thousands of civilians and security forces, killed primarily by the Taliban and its Haqqani Network allies. The United States has also spent about $3 billion monthly since the conflict began in 2001 and suffered 2,285 American military fatalities and 20,452 injuries, primarily at the hands of the Taliban and its allies.