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The American woman kidnapped by a Taliban-allied group and held hostage for years describes the harrowing moment her family was freed

Caitlan Coleman and her family (YouTube)

  • Caitlan Coleman, who was held in captivity by the Taliban-allied Haqqani network for 5 years, spoke to a reporter for the first time since she was kidnapped.
  • She said she wanted to clear up misinformation about how she was rescued and discussed the moment she realized her ordeal was over.
  • Coleman is recovering with her family in Toronto.

The American woman who was held captive by the Taliban-allied Haqqani network described the tense moment she and her family were rescued by Pakistani military forces after five years in captivity.

Caitlan Coleman was held with her husband, Joshua Boyle, and their three children in a series of houses and underground bunkers along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. The family was rescued 12 days ago and is now recovering at Boyle’s parent’s house in Toronto along with their children.

On Tuesday, she discussed the moment her family was rescued in an interview with Toronto Star.

Coleman said she and her family were held in Pakistan for over a year at that point. The family had been transferred to a series of Haqqani-network safe houses, remaining at some for a few hours, while staying at others for months at a time. The family was drugged and shoved into the trunk of a car each time they were transported, Coleman told The Star.

On October 11, the day the family was rescued, they were drugged and placed into a car’s trunk. After driving for some time, they heard a car chase and a gun battle break out.

“Our first fear — why we were not poking our heads up and yelling for help — was our fear that it was another gang trying to kidnap us,” Coleman said. “Possibly just part of the Haqqani network fighting with another part. They’re all just bandits.”

“You’re a prisoner for so long, you’re so suspicious, I was still thinking we don’t know these people, we don’t know where they’re taking us,” she added.

Coleman told The Star that she was “mostly just in shock” when she realized she was rescued and doesn’t remember exactly how she reacted.

She also discussed the details of her five years in captivity with The Star, and outlined her reasons for having three children in captivity.

Controversy surrounded the family’s return to Canada, after Boyle refused to board a US transport plane, and instead opted to fly commercial to Canada. Boyle was formerly married to Zaynab Khadr, the sister of former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr.

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