(USA TODAY) A Canadian man freed after years of captivity in Afghanistan said the militants in the Haqqani network had raped his wife and killed his young daughter while the family was held hostage.
Joshua Boyle made the statement late Friday shortly after arriving in Canada with his American wife Caitlan Coleman, who is from Stewartstown, Pa., and their three young children, the Associated Press and other news outlets reported.
The family was rescued this week as part of an operation undertaken by Pakistani security forces, acting with intelligence information provided by the United States. Their release came five years after their abduction by the Taliban-linked extremists. They had been on a backpacking trip in Afghanistan, and Coleman was pregnant at the time. All four of their children were born while they were held hostage.
“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 authorizing the murder of my infant daughter, Martyr Boyle," Joshua Boyle told reporters Friday night after landing in Toronto.
He said he now wants to create a "secure sanctuary for our three surviving children to call a home."
In an interview with the AP, Dan Boyle, Joshua’s younger brother, said that he had spoken to his brother a few times in the past few days.
“He’s doing very well," Dan Boyle said in the interview from his family's home in Smith Falls, Ontario. "He sounds a lot like how he sounded five years ago. He sounds like he had his head on his shoulders and his wits about him,” he said.
In a statement, the Canadian government said it will “continue to support (Boyle) and his family now that they have returned.”
Boyle has expressed disagreement with U.S. foreign policy, and during his return flight to Canada, he nodded to one of the U.S. State Department officials on board the plane and said: "Their interests are not my interests," according to an AP reporter who was on the flight.
Boyle said he been in Afghanistan "helping the most neglected minority group in the world, those ordinary villagers that live deep inside Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, where no NGO, no aid worker and no government has ever successfully been able to bring the necessary help."
Pakistani authorities, long criticized by U.S. officials of ignoring militant groups operating within their borders, say the raid to rescue the family was aided by a tip from U.S. intelligence and said it demonstrated that Pakistan would act against groups like the Haqqani network when American officials shared information.
President Trump praised Pakistan's move, writing on Twitter that the United States is developing "a much better relationship with Pakistan and its leaders."
Boyle told his family that he, his wife and their children were intercepted by Pakistani forces while being transported in the back or trunk of their captors’ car. His family said that Boyle told them some of his captors were killed, and he sustained only a shrapnel wound.
The AP and CNN report U.S. military officials say Boyle refused to board a U.S. military transport plane early Thursday, citing concerns that he could be arrested.
Boyle told reporters that the family's departure was delayed by a medical emergency involving one of the children. "I assure you, I have never refused to board any mode of transportation that would bring me closer to home," he said.
Boyle was once married to the sister of Canadian-born Omar Khadr, who was detained at Guantanamo Bay after fighting U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
Officials have said there is no link between Boyle's capture and Khadr. A Justice Department official told CNN that neither Boyle nor Coleman face arrest.
Contributing: Associated Press