A couple freed from militant captivity in Pakistan arrived home in Canada on Friday night, Canada’s government said.
Joshua Boyle, a Canadian, boarded a flight in Islamabad with his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, and their three children, a Pakistani military source with direct knowledge of the arrangement told CNN. They flew to London, then Canada.
“Today, we join the Boyle family in rejoicing over the long-awaited return to Canada of their loved ones,” the government of Canada said in a statement released Friday night. “Canada has been actively engaged on Mr. Boyle’s case at all levels, and we will continue to support him and his family now that they have returned.”
Boyle and Coleman were held for five years by the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network in Afghanistan. Their three children were born during their time in captivity.
They were freed Thursday in a mission carried out by Pakistani forces based on intelligence from US authorities.
On Thursday, Boyle refused to board an American military plane over concerns he could face arrest, a senior official said.
Boyle was previously married to the sister of Omar Kadhr, a Canadian imprisoned for 10 years at the US detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after fighting US troops in Afghanistan.
The US official said there were some questions surrounding Boyle’s past, but the Department of Justice said he did not face arrest. “Coleman and Boyle are not charged with any federal crime and, as such, we do not seek their arrest,” spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle said.
Coleman was pregnant at the time of their kidnapping and had two more children in captivity.
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.
Boyle’s father, Patrick, told CNN that his son had described the rescue mission during a phone call.
“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,” Patrick 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.”
Journalist Adeel Raja reported from Islamabad. CNN’s Eli Watkins, Ryan Browne, Barbara Starr and Laura Jarrett contributed to this report.