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Hostage Mom Breaks Her Media Silence

Caitlan Coleman sits down with ABC News
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2019 7:40 PM CDT
In this file image from video released by Taliban Media in December 2016, Caitlan Coleman talks in the video while her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle holds their two children.   (Taliban Media via AP)

(Newser) – Caitlan Coleman is telling her side of the story. The woman once held by the Taliban with her husband—who she says bit, punched, slapped, choked, and raped her in captivity—sat down with ABC News to explain how they ended up in Afghanistan, what happened there, and how his alleged abuse only continued after their liberation. "He restricted pretty much everything," she says of life with husband Joshua Boyle after they were freed and went to Canada in 2017. "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." Now in the US at an undisclosed address while Boyle faces multiple charges in Canada, including rape and assault, Coleman threw cold water on his claim he didn't support the Taliban:

  • "He would always tell me, 'I think they're misrepresented in the West. I think they're good people. When you meet them, you're gonna see,'" says Coleman. "So I saw. And they are, with the exception of my husband, the worst people that I've ever known in my life."
  • She says he took her to Afghanistan, where he hoped his former marriage to the daughter of an al-Qaeda aide to Osama bin Laden would help him get in with militants. He wanted to "sort of get the real story of the Taliban."
  • But they were captured in 2012, sold to the Haqqani Network, and shuttled to Pakistan, where they had two more kids in captivity and became pregnant with a third. She calls it rape: "You know, I'm not saying that I physically struggled. But I am saying that I found relations with him pretty abhorrent. But I didn't have a choice."
  • "Not only was it psychological, it was physical, it was sexual," she says of being held captive with Boyle. "I was actually more afraid of him than of the captors."
  • One upside: "...I look at what I survived. And I don't think there's anything, you know, anything that I can foresee that I couldn't handle."
  • But not everyone is sympathetic: "As far as her comments are concerned, at the very least it’s inappropriate for any witness in the middle of cross-examination to be speaking with any third parties about her evidence," a lawyer for Boyle tells People. Boyle is pleading not guilty.
(See Boyle's radically different account of their captivity.)

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