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Father of freed Taliban hostage: 'He wants to be home'

CNN logo CNN 5 days ago By Eli Watkins, CNN

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Despite declining to take a flight to the US, a recently freed hostage of a Taliban-affiliated group wants to come back, his father said Thursday.

CNN's Paula Newton spoke with Patrick and Linda Boyle, the parents of Josh Boyle, who, along with his wife Caitlin Coleman and three children, has been held captive by the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani Network in Afghanistan. They were recently freed from captivity by Pakistani security forces, but a senior US official told CNN that Boyle refused to board a US-bound plane over concerns about facing US law enforcement.

Family held hostage by Taliban freed after 5 years

His parents spoke with him from their home in Canada and said Boyle wants to return.

"He wants to be home," Patrick Boyle said. "He couldn't have made it more clear."

Boyle's mother said he told her he planned to return as well.

"His last words were, 'I'll see you in a couple days, Mom," Linda Boyle said.

American hostage Caitlan Coleman and her husband, Canadian Joshua Boyle, with their two children in a video published by Taliban media in 2016. The family was freed from captivity Thursday. © From YouTube American hostage Caitlan Coleman and her husband, Canadian Joshua Boyle, with their two children in a video published by Taliban media in 2016. The family was freed from captivity Thursday. Boyle is a Canadian and Coleman is an American. Coleman was pregnant at the time of their kidnapping and had two more children while held hostage.

The US official said there are some questions surrounding Boyle's past, though there is no indication he faces arrest.

In response to reports of Boyle declining to board the flight, Department of Justice spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle said, "Coleman and Boyle are not charged with any federal crime and, as such, we do not seek their arrest."

Boyle's father said his son told him he wanted to cooperate to make sure his family's captors were brought to justice "for the horrendous things they did to his wife."

"Josh is anxious to provide the evidence needed to bring the captors to justice, as I said, for what they did to his wife, which is much more horrendous than she described in the video," Patrick Boyle said, referencing footage posted online of the imprisoned family.

Coleman and Boyle were held hostage by the Haqqani Network for five years after their kidnapping in 2012. The Pakistani Army announced it had freed the couple along with their three children -- all of whom were born in captivity.

US officials said they shared intelligence with Pakistan when the family was moved into the country, and the Trump administration confirmed the news on Thursday that they had been freed.

Details about how they were freed were not immediately clear, and in the interview, Patrick Boyle recounted what he heard from his son.

"The five of them being in the back of a car being transferred and a car being stopped, surrounded by, Josh described, 35 Pakistani Army officials," Boyle said. "A firefight breaking out, that all five captors had been killed by the Pakistani Army, and all five of our Boyles are safe and okay. Josh said he was hit with some shrapnel and our governments have confirmed that he was damaged in the leg. That's all we know right now about that."

Boyle said the sudden turn of events was nothing short of miraculous.

"Cait, in her last video said if all five of them make it out, it's going to be a miracle," Boyle said. "And we're living a miracle."

CNN's Ryan Browne, Barbara Starr and Laura Jarrett contributed to this report.

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