TORONTO — Former Canadian hostage Joshua Boyle and his family arrived in Canada on Friday night after being freed from captivity this week.
Boyle, his American wife Caitlan Coleman and their three young children arrived at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, two days after Pakstani commandos rescued them from captors who first took the couple hostage five years ago in Afghanistan.
Boyle provided a written statement to The Associated Press on Friday saying, “God has given me and my family unparalleled resilience and determination.”
The family was expected to be greeted by Boyle’s parents, who live in Smiths Falls, Ont.
The Canadian government also issued a statement Friday night saying it joined the Boyle family “in rejoicing over the long-awaited return to Canada of their loved ones.”
The couple were kidnapped in Afghanistan in October 2012 while on a backpacking trip. All three of their children were born in captivity.
On Thursday, officials in Pakistan said the family had been rescued in “an intelligence-based operation” after their captors moved them across the border from Afghanistan.
The family was safe “but exhausted,” Boyle’s parents said on Thursday, while Coleman’s parents were relieved to be able to speak with their daughter after five years.
However, her father said he was angry at Boyle for taking her to Afghanistan in the first place.
“Taking your pregnant wife to a very dangerous place, to me, and the kind of person I am, is unconscionable,” he told ABC News.
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.