American Caitlan Coleman and her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle speak as part of a hostage video. Picture: AFP
American Caitlan Coleman and her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle speak as part of a hostage video. Picture: AFP

Hostage describes brutal sex assault

AN American mother kidnapped by Taliban-linked terrorists says she was gang-raped by her guards during her five-year imprisonment in Afghanistan.

Caitlin Coleman, 31, and her husband Joshua Boyle, 34, were taken hostage by the Haqqani network while backpacking five years ago. Caitlin was pregnant at the time and went on to have three more children during their five years in captivity.

Pakistani forces rescued the couple after a tip-off from US intelligence.

In an interview with ABC News, Ms Coleman said her children had been present when she was raped.

"They (the kidnappers) came into the cell and they took my husband out - forcefully dragging him out - and one of the guards threw me down on the ground, hitting me and shouting, 'I will kill you! I will kill you!' And that's when the assault happened."

"It was with two men and then there was a third at the door," she said.

Mr Boyle said told they their captors they would not join the Haqqani network.

"I would call them religious hypocrites to their face and I would tell them they would burn in hell fire for what they had done and that I would rather be killed than join their group. And that did not make me any friends," he said.

Mr Boyle said he had divine help.

"God likes me better than he likes them, so in the end we ended up with the upper hand I guess," he said.

Ms Coleman said her children were also hurt by their kidnappers, often being beaten.

Joshua Boyle and one of his children outside the Boyle's family home in Ontario, Canada. Picture: AFP/Mike Carroccetto.
Joshua Boyle and one of his children outside the Boyle's family home in Ontario, Canada. Picture: AFP/Mike Carroccetto.

"Some of the guards actually actively hated children and would somewhat target (the eldest son) and come up with reasons to hit him either with a stick or otherwise. Claiming that he was making problems. He was being too loud," she said.

Mr Boyle said the couple would fight to protect the children and one time his wife was badly injured.

"She actually broke her own hand punching one of them. She broke her fingers, so she was very proud of that injury," he said.

Mr Boyle says Haqqani offered him freedom four times if he would join the network.

"I think they had a misunderstanding because they recognise that I was somebody who was aware that the US was not always the good guy in the equation so they leapt on that and hoped that I would be joining their ranks.

"I had to break the news to them that I wasn't actually of the opinion that there was any good guys in this war. War tends to bring out the worst in everybody."

 

Caitlin Coleman opened up about the rape in a television interview. Picture: ABC News.
Caitlin Coleman opened up about the rape in a television interview. Picture: ABC News.

In their five years in captivity, Ms Coleman gave birth to three children. The pair allege their kidnappers poisoned her while she was pregnant the second time, leading to an abortion. An Haqqani spokesman has denied this.

The family is now living in Ottawa, Canada.

Mr Boyle says the couple is speaking now in the hope their captors will be held responsible.

"Our focus is on trying to hold accountable those who have committed grave human rights violations against us and against others," he said.

"I lost a daughter. That was more of a crushing blow to me than the years. What they did was a crime against humanity by international law."



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