An American woman held hostage by the Taliban for 5 years says abusive husband to blame

  • Caitlan Coleman, an American woman who was held hostage with her husband by the Taliban for five years, says she and her husband were in Afghanistan because her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle was a Taliban sympathizer.
  • She told ABC News that her husband believed the Taliban are “good people” and would welcome them.
  • Coleman, who was six months pregnant at the time of her capture, said she had “no choice” but to go to Afghanistan with him, explaining that she was more afraid of her husband than her captors.
  • Boyle was arrested a few months after the couple and their children, three of which were born in captivity, were rescued on a string of domestic abuse charges.
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A pregnant American woman Caitlan Coleman and her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle were captured by the Taliban while hiking in Afghanistan in 2012. They were held hostage for five years before finally being rescued, but it appears the situation was more complicated than that.

Coleman left Canada with her four children, three of which were born while the couple was in captivity, and is now in the US, where she is finally answering questions about what exactly she and her husband were doing in Afghanistan in the first place.

She claimed in an interview with ABC News that her husband was a Taliban sympathizer. Boyle has previously argued that such suspicions were “off base,” even as he struggled to provide a consistent explanation of why he and his wife were in Afghanistan.

Coleman told ABC that she had “no choice” but to go with him, explaining that she “was actually more afraid of him than of the captors.”

Coleman said that she suffered “extreme” psychological, physical, and sexual abuse in captivity.

Boyle, who was once married to the daughter of a ranking al Qaeda militant, believed the Taliban would welcome him, Coleman explained. He tried to convince his wife that the Taliban are “good people.” She firmly told ABC News, “They are, with the exception of my husband, the worst people that I’ve ever known in my life.”

Coleman claimed that Boyle sexually and physically assaulted her, even shattering bones in at least one case.


Read more:
An American woman held hostage in Afghanistan speaks out about her 5 years in captivity

She said that life didn’t change much after she was rescued. “I certainly felt like I was still a prisoner,” she told reporters. “There wasn’t actually a big change in my life from when we were still in Pakistan (where they were moved after being captured) in the hands of the Haqqanis and when I was in the Embassy Suites Hotel [in Ottawa] with Josh.”

Just a couple of months after the couple and their children were rescued in the fall of 2017, the husband was arrested on a string of 19 criminal charges covering everything from assault to rape to drugging his wife. Boyle has pleaded not guilty.

US officials, according to ABC News, believe Coleman, even though her story is inconsistent with her initial comments to media in the aftermath of her rescue. For instance, in a 2017 account, she said that the Taliban forced her to killed her unborn child because her husband refused to join. Now, she is claiming her husband is a Taliban sympathizer. She has reportedly cooperated closely with authorities, who have in turn worked to assist her as much as possible.

Coleman has won custody of her kids, and she is currently hiding from her estranged husband.

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