Canadian family held captive by Taliban-linked group leave Pakistan

The family, with three young children, had been held captive for years

A Canadian man and his family have left Pakistan after being freed from a Taliban-linked group that held them hostage for five years, officials in the country said Friday.

Joshua Boyle, his American wife Caitlan Coleman and their three young children were rescued in a raid carried out by Pakistani commandos on Wednesday after the family and their captors crossed the border from Afghanistan.

Pakistani security officials said the family left by plane from Islamabad, but did not say where the family was headed. The BBC was reporting early Friday that the family was headed to London, England.

Boyle and Coleman were kidnapped in Afghanistan in October 2012 while on a backpacking trip. All three of their children were born in captivity.

Related: Canadian-American family held captive by Taliban-linked group released

Pakistan said Thursday that it had rescued the family in “an intelligence-based operation” after their captors moved them across the border from Afghanistan.

Boyle’s parents, who live in Smiths Falls, Ont., said Thursday evening that their son and his family intend to come to Canada.

Patrick Boyle said the family was safe “but exhausted.”

“(Joshua) said they’ve all been up since Tuesday so he was very pleased, he’s running on empty,” he said outside his home, noting that the family was “over the top” at the word of the release.

“We struggled with every dark spot in the last five years, today that’s sort of parked.”

Coleman’s parents said they were relieved to be able to speak with their daughter after five years but her father said he was angry at Joshua Boyle for taking his daughter to Afghanistan.

“Taking your pregnant wife to a very dangerous place, to me, and the kind of person I am, is unconscionable,” he told ABC News.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, who has met with the Boyle family in the past, said Thursday that they had endured an “absolutely horrible ordeal.”

Freeland refused to describe the circumstances of the release, citing security reasons but said Canada had been working with the U.S., Pakistan and Afghanistan, whom she thanked.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, speaking in Mexico City, thanked U.S. and Pakistani officials for their efforts in freeing the captives.

“We’re pleased that the ordeal they’ve been through over these past years has finally come to an end,” Trudeau said Thursday night during a news conference.

Related: Omar Khadr wants unfettered access to sister, other bail changes

The release came nearly five years to the day since Boyle and Coleman lost touch with their families while travelling in a mountainous region near the Afghan capital, Kabul.

The couple had set off in the summer 2012 for a journey that took them to Russia, the central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and then to Afghanistan. Coleman’s parents last heard from their son-in-law on Oct. 8, 2012, from an internet cafe in what Boyle described as an “unsafe” part of Afghanistan.

— With files from The Associated Press

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

UPDATE, with video: Man in his 80s hit by SUV at Scott Road near 72nd in Surrey

Victim was reportedly unconscious and suffering from major head injuries

Cloverdale’s Thunder Colts hockey team raises thousands for Burn Fund

Barbeque event brings in $3,400, donations accepted until Friday, Dec. 15

South Surrey shots-fired accused due back in court Jan. 2

Cameron Barton arrested Sept. 25 in White Rock

‘Bring on the Balls’ campaign makes Surrey Christmas Bureau bounce

Teens to benefit from donation drive by North Surrey-based realtors

FURRY FRIDAY: Surrey animal shelter’s adoptee of the week

Meet Jake, this week’s featured animal currently at Surrey Animal Resource Centre

VIDEO: Volunteers, donations needed as ‘Whalley Santa Cause’ returns to Surrey’s 135A Street

Volunteers will descend on the Surrey ‘Strip’ to give hampers to homeless on Christmas Day, but help is needed

Court denies WestJet’s bid to toss out discrimination lawsuit of former worker

Mandalena Lewis is suing WestJet over allegations of gender-based discrimination

VIDEO: 3 months later, rescued sea lion released back into ocean

The young animal was found in Campbell River three months ago

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

UPDATED: Train collides with car in Maple Ridge

Mother and child both uninjured, track cleared at 11 a.m.

Accused B.C. drug smuggler to be extradited

Supreme Court of Canada upholds extradition order for accused Shuswap drug smuggler, Colin Martin

One convicted, two cleared in 2014 deaths of men in B.C.’s Cariboo

Andrew Jongbloets convicted of manslaughter in deaths of Matthew Hennigar, 23 and Kalvin Andy, 22

VIDEO: Pedestrian struck by vehicle caught on security camera

Incident points to danger on the roads not only in low light but also in bright sunshine

Surrey RCMP looking for impaired drivers

‘This whole month, the emphasis is CounterAttack’

Most Read