The American woman and her husband who were held hostage in Afghanistan discuss why they chose to have children in captivity


 

  • Joshua Boyle and Caitlan Coleman decided to have three children while in captivity because they wanted to get a head start on their dream of a large family.
  • Their eldest son is still afraid to close his eyes after being woken up by masked men with machine guns.
  • Their three young children remain traumatized, but appear healthy and on a path toward recovery in their new home.


Caitlan Coleman and Joshua Boyle, the Canadian-American couple who were held hostage by the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network for five years in Afghanistan, said they decided to have children in captivity because they had always wanted to have a large family. 

“It was a decision we made," Coleman told the Toronto Star. "We did think about it and talk about it and it's difficult to explain all the reasons, but, for me, a large part was the fact that it has always been important to me to have a large family." 

Coleman's family was rescued earlier this month by Pakistani security forces after five years spent at several different prisons as hostages.

Boyle, Coleman's husband, told the Associated Press that he and his wife were desperate to make the most of their time as hostages.

"We're sitting as hostages with a lot of time on our hands," he explained. "We always wanted as many [children] as possible, and we didn't want to waste time. Cait's in her 30s, the clock is ticking."

26 PHOTOS
Caitlan Coleman and Joshua Boyle, held by Taliban affiliate
See Gallery
Caitlan Coleman and Joshua Boyle, held by Taliban affiliate

Caitlan Coleman, Joshua Boyle and their children.

(Screenshot from Taliban Video)

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 23: Caitlan Coleman, the wife of Canadian Joshua Boyle, holds her infant daughter as she speaks to the Star from the grounds of a hospital in Ottawa, in her first interview since the family's rescue from Taliban- linked militants in Pakistan. (Michelle Shephard/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Freed Canadian hostage Joshua Boyle and one of his children walk outside the Boyle's family home in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada, on October 14, 2017. Boyle, whose family was freed from captivity in Pakistan last week, arrived back home early October 14. He accused his kidnappers of murdering his baby daughter and raping his wife during his family's years-long captivity by the Haqqani network, a Taliban-affiliated group operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Boyle leveled the accusations in a terse statement he read on arrival in Toronto late October 13 with his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, and three children, who were freed on October 11 by Pakistani troops. / AFP PHOTO / Mike CARROCCETTO (Photo credit should read MIKE CARROCCETTO/AFP/Getty Images)

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)

Linda Boyle, mother of freed Canadian hostage Joshua Boyle, arrives with grocery bags at the Boyle family home in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada, on October 14, 2017. Freed Canadian hostage Joshua Boyle, who arrived back home early October 14 morning, accused his kidnappers of murdering his baby daughter and raping his wife during his family's years-long captivity by the Haqqani network, a Taliban-affiliated group operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Boyle leveled the accusations in a terse statement he read on arrival in Toronto late October 13 with his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, and three children, who were freed on October 11 by Pakistani troops. / AFP PHOTO / Mike Carroccetto (Photo credit should read MIKE CARROCCETTO/AFP/Getty Images)
Freed Canadian hostage Joshua Boyle watches as one of his children plays outside the Boyle's family home in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada, on October 14, 2017. Boyle, whose family was freed from captivity in Pakistan last week, arrived back home early October 14. He accused his kidnappers of murdering his baby daughter and raping his wife during his family's years-long captivity by the Haqqani network, a Taliban-affiliated group operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Boyle leveled the accusations in a terse statement he read on arrival in Toronto late October 13 with his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, and three children, who were freed on October 11 by Pakistani troops. / AFP PHOTO / Mike CARROCCETTO (Photo credit should read MIKE CARROCCETTO/AFP/Getty Images)
Joshua Boyle speaks to the media after arriving with his wife and three children at 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
Security guards outside freed Canadian hostage Joshua Boyle's family home in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada, on October 14, 2017. Freed Canadian hostage Joshua Boyle, who arrived back home early October 14 morning, accused his kidnappers of murdering his baby daughter and raping his wife during his family's years-long captivity by the Haqqani network, a Taliban-affiliated group operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Boyle leveled the accusations in a terse statement he read on arrival in Toronto late October 13 with his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, and three children, who were freed on October 11 by Pakistani troops. / AFP PHOTO / Mike Carroccetto (Photo credit should read MIKE CARROCCETTO/AFP/Getty Images)
SMITHS FALLS, ON - OCT. 12: Boyle-room: The room in the Boyle's Smith Falls, Ont. home that has been set up for the return of Joshua Boyle's three children, born in captivity during their five years held hostage. (Michelle Shephard/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Linda Boyle, mother of freed Canadian hostage Joshua Boyle, arrives at the Boyle family home in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada, on October 14, 2017. Freed Canadian hostage Joshua Boyle, who arrived back home early October 14 morning, accused his kidnappers of murdering his baby daughter and raping his wife during his family's years-long captivity by the Haqqani network, a Taliban-affiliated group operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Boyle leveled the accusations in a terse statement he read on arrival in Toronto late October 13 with his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, and three children, who were freed on October 11 by Pakistani troops. / AFP PHOTO / Mike Carroccetto (Photo credit should read MIKE CARROCCETTO/AFP/Getty Images)
SMITHS FALLS, ON - OCT. 12: Patrick Boyle, his wife Linda and security consultant Andy Ellis talk to Canadian and U.S. officials about the release of Joshua Boyle, his wife Caitlan Coleman and their three children. The couple had been held hostage for five years by the Haqqani network. Their three children were born in captivity. (Michelle Shephard/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
SMITHS FALLS, ON - OCT. 12: Joshua Boyle's sister sits with their family dog, with a crib in the foreground that family is getting ready for her 2-month-old niece. (Michelle Shephard/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 12 - Linda and Patrick Boyle in their Smith Falls, ON. home awaiting the arrival of their son, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren who were rescued by the Pakistani army on Oct. 11. Joshua Boyle, 34, Caitlan Coleman, 31 were held hostage by the Haqqani network for five years. All three of their children, two sons 4 an 2 and a 2-month-old daughter were born in captivity. (Randy Risling/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Joshua Boyle walks through the airport after arriving with his wife and three children at 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
Patrick Boyle, father of freed Canadian hostage Joshua Boyle walks outside his home in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada, on October 14, 2017. Joshua Boyle, whose family was freed from captivity in Pakistan last week, arrived back home early October 14. He accused his kidnappers of murdering his baby daughter and raping his wife during his family's years-long captivity by the Haqqani network, a Taliban-affiliated group operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Boyle leveled the accusations in a terse statement he read on arrival in Toronto late October 13 with his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, and three children, who were freed on October 11 by Pakistani troops. / AFP PHOTO / Mike CARROCCETTO (Photo credit should read MIKE CARROCCETTO/AFP/Getty Images)
Joshua Boyle stands with his father Patrick Doyle (L) 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
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 12 - Linda and Patrick Boyle in their Smith Falls, ON. home awaiting the arrival of their son, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren who were rescued by the Pakistani army on Oct. 11. Joshua Boyle, 34, Caitlan Coleman, 31 were held hostage by the Haqqani network for five years. All three of their children, two sons 4 an 2 and a 2-month-old daughter were born in captivity. (Randy Risling/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Freed Canadian hostage Joshua Boyle talks on the phone outside the Boyle family home in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada, on October 14, 2017. Boyle, whose family was freed from captivity in Pakistan last week, arrived back home early October 14. He accused his kidnappers of murdering his baby daughter and raping his wife during his family's years-long captivity by the Haqqani network, a Taliban-affiliated group operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Boyle leveled the accusations in a terse statement he read on arrival in Toronto late October 13 with his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, and three children, who were freed on October 11 by Pakistani troops. / AFP PHOTO / Mike CARROCCETTO (Photo credit should read MIKE CARROCCETTO/AFP/Getty Images)
Freed Canadian hostage Joshua Boyle talks on the phone as one of his children plays outside the Boyle's family home in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada, on October 14, 2017. Boyle, whose family was freed from captivity in Pakistan last week, arrived back home early October 14. He accused his kidnappers of murdering his baby daughter and raping his wife during his family's years-long captivity by the Haqqani network, a Taliban-affiliated group operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Boyle leveled the accusations in a terse statement he read on arrival in Toronto late October 13 with his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, and three children, who were freed on October 11 by Pakistani troops. / AFP PHOTO / Mike CARROCCETTO (Photo credit should read MIKE CARROCCETTO/AFP/Getty Images)
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
Freed Canadian hostage Joshua Boyle talks on the phone outside the Boyle family home in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada, on October 14, 2017. Boyle, whose family was freed from captivity in Pakistan last week, arrived back home early October 14. He accused his kidnappers of murdering his baby daughter and raping his wife during his family's years-long captivity by the Haqqani network, a Taliban-affiliated group operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Boyle leveled the accusations in a terse statement he read on arrival in Toronto late October 13 with his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, and three children, who were freed on October 11 by Pakistani troops. / AFP PHOTO / Mike CARROCCETTO (Photo credit should read MIKE CARROCCETTO/AFP/Getty Images)
Journalists wait outside freed Canadian hostage Joshua Boyle's family home in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada, on October 14, 2017. Freed Canadian hostage Joshua Boyle, who arrived back home early October 14 morning, accused his kidnappers of murdering his baby daughter and raping his wife during his family's years-long captivity by the Haqqani network, a Taliban-affiliated group operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Boyle leveled the accusations in a terse statement he read on arrival in Toronto late October 13 with his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, and three children, who were freed on October 11 by Pakistani troops. / AFP PHOTO / Mike Carroccetto (Photo credit should read MIKE CARROCCETTO/AFP/Getty Images)
Journalists work outside freed Canadian hostage Joshua Boyle's family home in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada, on October 14, 2017. Freed Canadian hostage Joshua Boyle, who arrived back home early October 14 morning, accused his kidnappers of murdering his baby daughter and raping his wife during his family's years-long captivity by the Haqqani network, a Taliban-affiliated group operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Boyle leveled the accusations in a terse statement he read on arrival in Toronto late October 13 with his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, and three children, who were freed on October 11 by Pakistani troops. / AFP PHOTO / Mike Carroccetto (Photo credit should read MIKE CARROCCETTO/AFP/Getty Images)
Security guards outside freed Canadian hostage Joshua Boyle's family home in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada, on October 14, 2017. Freed Canadian hostage Joshua Boyle, who arrived back home early October 14 morning, accused his kidnappers of murdering his baby daughter and raping his wife during his family's years-long captivity by the Haqqani network, a Taliban-affiliated group operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Boyle leveled the accusations in a terse statement he read on arrival in Toronto late October 13 with his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, and three children, who were freed on October 11 by Pakistani troops. / AFP PHOTO / Mike Carroccetto (Photo credit should read MIKE CARROCCETTO/AFP/Getty Images)
Patrick Boyle, father of freed Canadian hostage Joshua Boyle, puts up a bedsheet to block the view of journalists camped outside the Boyle family home in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada, on October 14, 2017. Freed Canadian hostage Joshua Boyle, who arrived back home early October 14 morning, accused his kidnappers of murdering his baby daughter and raping his wife during his family's years-long captivity by the Haqqani network, a Taliban-affiliated group operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Boyle leveled the accusations in a terse statement he read on arrival in Toronto late October 13 with his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, and three children, who were freed on October 11 by Pakistani troops. / AFP PHOTO / Mike Carroccetto (Photo credit should read MIKE CARROCCETTO/AFP/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

"This took our life away from us — this captivity with no end in sight," Coleman said. "And so I felt that it was our best choice at that time," Boyle continued. "We didn't know if we would have that opportunity when we came back. We didn't know how long it would be. It was already unprecedented, so we couldn't say, 'Oh we'll only be here a year or six months.'"

Boyle said that he and Coleman had always aimed to have "a family of 5, 10, 12 children," adding jokingly that this was because they are Irish.

The three children the couple had in captivity — four-year-old Najaeshi Jonah, two-year-old Dhakwoen Noah, and six-month-old Ma'idah Grace — are all traumatized from the experience and face a difficult road to psychological recovery.

Jonah, the oldest child, reportedly is afraid to close his eyes after a traumatic encounter with his captors. 

"A bunch of masked men with Kalashnikovs then came into the room — their mother and father aren't there — and start picking them up and say, 'Come on, come on, we go in the car,' pulling him to some place he doesn't know," Boyle told the Star.

Boyle also described the psychological state of his younger son, Noah.

"It seems everything reminds him of the horrors of prison," he told CBC. "Cameras are equated to hostage videos, pens are equated to syringes used to drug his parents with ketamine by the guards, slamming doors is associated with cell searches or worse, it seems his healing process has barely begun."

"Ma'idah Grace seems scared most of the time," Boyle says, speaking about his newborn daughter, "but also to have discovered there are more decent people in the world than she knew; her world until last week consisted of two good brothers and two good parents and about 15 guards of increasing fear to her."

"These are children who three days ago they didn't know what a toilet looks like. They used a bucket," Boyle said in a video that CBS said was recorded after they were rescued in Pakistan. "Three days ago they did not know what a light is or what a door is except that it is a metal thing that is locked in their face to make them a prisoner."

Nevertheless, Boyle says that after traveling through various airports at which his children asked him if this was their new home, the family's new surroundings at Boyle's parents' home in Ontario, Canada have allowed his children to start on the long road to recovery from the trauma the family experienced.

"Last night he wouldn't close his eyes because he was so excited," Boyle said of his son Jonah. "He just wanted to sit on his pile of toys with a gigantic smile on his face. It took him about three hours to fall asleep, and it wasn't three hours of panic. It was three hours where he just wanted to really, really cherish this gigantic rabbit and these plastic Lego blocks and these toys."

NOW WATCH: A North Korean defector trekked 6,000 miles on crutches to flee — now he helps others escape

See Also:

SEE ALSO: An American woman held in Taliban captivity for 5 years was 'defiled' in an underground prison where she gave birth by flashlight

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.