Afghan Taliban deny former hostage's
claims of murder, rape
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[October 16, 2017]
By Jibran Ahmad
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - A Taliban
spokesman denied on Sunday accusations by a Canadian man that one of his
children had been murdered and his wife raped while they were being held
captive by militants who kidnapped them in Afghanistan in 2012.
Joshua Boyle and his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, were held by the
Haqqani network, a semi-independent wing of the Afghan Taliban, before
being rescued by Pakistani troops in northwest Pakistan, near the Afghan
border, last week.
Boyle told reporters soon after he, his wife and their three children
returned to Canada on Friday that their captors had murdered a fourth
child had raped his wife.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid rejected that as propaganda by the
Western governments that helped rescue the family.
"We strongly reject these fake and fabricated allegations of this
Canadian family, now in the hands of the enemy," he said in a statement
sent to media.
"Whatever statement the enemy wants to put in their mouth, the family is
forced to make it."
Boyle called on the Taliban to "provide my family with the justice we
Mujahid said the couple was intentionally never separated in order to
protect their safety.
He also denied that their child had been murdered, but acknowledged that
one child became sick and died.
"We were in a remote areas without access to a doctor and medications
that led the loss of the child," he said.
Three children, all born in captivity, were rescued along with Boyle and
[to top of second column]
Joshua Boyle speaks to the media after arriving with his wife and
three children to Toronto Pearson International Airport, nearly 5
years after he and his wife were abducted in Afghanistan in 2012 by
the Taliban-allied Haqqani network, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada,
October 13, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Blinch
The U.S. government calls the Haqqani network "the most lethal and
sophisticated insurgent group" in Afghanistan.
Its operational chief, Sirajuddin Haqqani, was named deputy to the
Taliban's newly appointed leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour in
2015, cementing the ties between the groups.
The Haqqanis previously held U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who
was freed in a swap for Taliban prisoners in 2014, and are suspected
of holding two professors, an American and an Australian, who were
kidnapped outside their university in Kabul in 2016.
A senior Afghan government official told Reuters that American and
Afghan special forces launched two unsuccessful raids to try to
rescue the professors in Afghanistan, but officials now believe the
pair has been taken to Haqqani hideouts over the border in Pakistan.
(Writing by Josh Smith; Editing by Robert Birsel)
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