TORONTO -- In a chilling statement on his family's arrival in Toronto Friday (October 13), freed Canadian hostage Joshua Boyle accused his kidnappers of raping his American wife Caitlan Coleman and murdering their infant daughter.
Boyle and Coleman were kidnapped by the Taliban-linked Haqqani Network, a militant group that operates on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, in a remote area of Afghanistan in 2012. The Haqqani Network is headed by Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is also the Afghan Taliban's deputy leader.
The couple and their three children, who were born in captivity, were freed in Kurram Agency, Pakistan, October 11 by Pakistani troops acting on US intelligence. Their kidnappers had moved the family from Afghanistan to Pakistan at some point.
Visibly angry, Boyle told reporters that the Haqqani Network had ordered the killing of their baby -- a fourth child, whose existence had not previously been known -- as retaliation for his refusal to accept an offer from them. He did not specify what the offer was.
"The stupidity and evil of the Haqqani Network's kidnapping of a pilgrim and his heavily pregnant wife engaged in helping ordinary villagers in Taliban-controlled regions of Afghanistan was eclipsed only by the stupidity and evil of authorising the murder of my infant daughter," he said.
Boyle also said his wife had been raped, not by a lone guard but with the aid of the captain of the guard and a Haqqani commander he identified as Abu Hajr.
Both incidents took place in 2014, said Boyle.
The Afghan government, in a 2016 investigation, confirmed the crimes took place, he said, calling for justice to be served against the "criminal miscreants".
"The criminals who held us ... were not good Muslims," Boyle is shown as saying. "They were not even bad Muslims. They were undoubtedly criminals, undoubtedly pagans; they were directed by commanders who were not guided by Islam," he said.
The Taliban denied Boyle's accusations.
Meanwhile, a bombing Sunday (October 15) killed four Pakistani soldiers as they searched for militants linked to the kidnapping.
The incident took place in Kurram Agency in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), bordering Afghanistan.
"Four security force troops, including a captain, embraced shahadat (martyrdom) while three others sustained injuries when an improvised explosive device went off," the military said in a statement.
"The troops were part of a search party for handlers of the rescued foreigners," it added, without offering further details.
The search party belonged to the Frontier Corps, officials told AFP.
How effective will the future fence along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border be in controlling the movement of militants?