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Joshua Boyle
hostage held by the Taliban from October 2012 to October, 2017. His wife Caitlan Coleman, a U.S. citizen who was born in York County, Pennsylvania, was also

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This article is about the Canadian hostage. For the member of parliament, see Joshua Boyle (Member of Parliament). Joshua Boyle Born Joshua Ainslie Boyle Nationality Canadian Known for Taliban hostage Spouse(s) 1) Zaynab Khadr, m. 2009-divorced 2010
2) Caitlan Coleman, m. 2011- Children Three (two sons, one daughter) Parent(s) Patrick J. Boyle, Linda Boyle

Joshua Boyle is a Canadian who was held hostage held by the Taliban from October 2012 to October, 2017. His wife Caitlan Coleman, a U.S. citizen who was born in York County, Pennsylvania, was also a hostage, as were their three children.


Joshua Boyle is the second of five children of Patrick and Linda Boyle. He attended a Mennonite school and was involved with his mother's "Anglican church and his father’s Catholic faith." He graduated with a B.A. from the University of Waterloo in 2005. He is known by his friends as a pacifist. Boyle expressed interest in doing humanitarian work in places known to be dangerous.

Boyle had a long-standing interest in Islamic terrorism, stating in 2009 that “anything related to terrorism on Wikipedia, I wrote, pretty much.” He took an interest in the Gitmo detainee, Omar Khadr and married Omar's sister Zaynab Khadr in 2009 becoming her third husband. At the time Boyle was believed by co-workers to be, or perhaps converting to become, Muslim taking prayer breaks at work at appropriate times. Boyle first received press coverage in 2009 after an attack on his father's home. During his marriage to Zaynab, Boyle's parents' Ottawa house was fired upon and ransacked by an intruder but no valuable were taken. Boyle believed it was related to his marriage to "a woman who had ties to Osama bin Laden."

US FBI investigators have concluded that the kidnapping of Boyle and his wife was unrelated to his first marriage and have described it as "a horrible coincidence". The Canadian RCMP agrees with the FBI assesment; Boyle and his wife have been described as innocents and "harmless hippies" by a former Canadian senior intelligence officer familiar with the case.

Boyle and Coleman met online as teen aged Star Wars movie fans and became friends. They married in Costa Rica in 2011 while traveling for 6 months throughout all of the countries of Central America.

Taliban captive

Boyle and Coleman were kidnapped by armed men in October 2012 while traveling through Wardak province, a Taliban haven 40 km from Kabul near the Pakistani border. They had been touring Central Asia for several months and were taken days after entering Afghanistan. Boyle last contacted family on October 8, 2012 from an internet cafe in an "unsafe part" of Kabul. Coleman, who was five months pregnant at the time she was kidnapped, gave birth to a boy in captivity and subsequently had two other children, a boy and a girl. They were held by the Haqqani network. Afghanistan was not part of the original travel plan, according to his parents. They are civilians with no military or government ties.

No ransom has been demanded of their families. In 2014 their families released two videos received in 2013. In August and December 2016 the captors publicly released two further videos. The August 2016 video includes specific death threats against Boyle, his wife and their children. The December 2016 video included their two young sons for the first time and Boyle's leg chains can be heard as he settles them. These videos make it clear that the captors have made specific demands of governments for the release of this family. In these scripted videos Boyle and Coleman ask the US and Canadian governments to do what is required or demanded. They ask their families to push their governments to do what is demanded without describing what that is. The 2016 videos describe the nature of those demands. The Taliban is said to be seeking an exchange for the release of certain Haqqani Network members imprisoned by Afghanistan, including Anas Haqqani.

Lt. Col Jason Amerine testified in 2015 at Senate congressional hearings that he believed the June 2014 prisoner exchange for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl could have included Boyle, his wife Caitlan and their first son. In 2016 an agreement to release Boyle alone was reported, but he is reported to have refused to leave his American wife and children behind. In 2017 the Obama administration was reported to be working hard in its last few weeks to secure the release of American hostages of the Taliban and Haqqani Network, including the Coleman Boyle family.

On October 12, 2017, Pakistan's army said that its troops had rescued a family matching the description of that of the Coleman Boyle family, following a tip from U.S. intelligence that the hostages had been moved over the border into northwestern Pakistan. Boyle's father, Patrick Boyle, confirmed that Boyle, Coleman and their children had been freed. At the time of the family's release, Boyle told his father that Coleman had given birth to a girl two months earlier.

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