Former Taliban hostage Boyle arrested for 15 charges including assault

This file photo taken on October 14, 2017 shows freed Canadian hostage Joshua Boyle talking on the phone outside the Boyle family home in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada. (AFP)
Updated 03 January 2018
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Former Taliban hostage Boyle arrested for 15 charges including assault

MONTREAL: A Canadian man who was held captive by a faction of the Afghan Taliban for five years has been arrested on 15 charges including sexual assault, illegal confinement and issuing death threats, according to reports on Tuesday.
Joshua Boyle was freed last October along with his American wife Caitlan Coleman and their three children born in captivity.
The identity of the alleged victim was being withheld by a court, according to Boyle’s lawyer Eric Granger.
Granger added his client was “presumed innocent” and had never been in any form of legal trouble before.
“We look forward to receiving the evidence and defending him against these charges,” he said, adding Boyle would appear before a court in Ottawa on Wednesday.
According to news channel CTV, Boyle is facing eight counts of assault, two counts of sexual assault and two counts of unlawful confinement, as well as one each of misleading police to “divert suspicion from himself,” uttering a death threat, and administering a noxious substance, Trazodone.
In a statement to The Toronto Star and published on the newspaper’s website, Boyle’s wife would not comment on the specific charges “but I can say that ultimately it is the strain and trauma he was forced to endure for so many years and the effects that that had on his mental state that is most culpable for this.”
She said “with compassion and forgiveness that I... hope help and healing can be found for him.”
Coleman added that she and the children were healthy.
Boyle and Coleman, who have been married since 2011, were kidnapped by the Taliban during what they described as a backpacking trip through war-torn Afghanistan in 2012, and were later transferred to the custody of the Haqqani faction, known for its alleged ties to the Pakistani military.
They were freed on October 12, but refused to board a US military plane. Boyle, a Muslim convert and long-time advocate of freed Guantanamo inmate Omar Khadr, cited fears over his background.
Upon his arrival in Toronto two days later Boyle accused his captors of raping his wife and killing his baby daughter, a fourth child — allegations swiftly refuted by the Taliban’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.
Mujahid admitted a baby had died but said it was a result of a natural miscarriage.
A month later Coleman also spoke of a sexual “assault” by two of her captors in an interview with ABC news.
Boyle has been an outspoken advocate for Omar Khadr, a Canadian captured at the age of 15 in 2002 in Afghanistan and held at Guantanamo Bay before being transferred to Canada and later released.
He married Khadr’s sister in 2009.
Pakistan’s military says the family was freed in a daring rescue operation.
But some US and Canadian officials have questioned that account, suggesting to news outlets it may have involved a “negotiated handover” with the Haqqani network which Islamabad is said to covertly back.


Pakistani PM Khan vows to hold peace talks with India

Updated 23 October 2018
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Pakistani PM Khan vows to hold peace talks with India

  • India has long accused Pakistan of backing militants in Kashmir, a Himalayan territory divided between the two countries
  • 500,000 Delhi soldiers are positioned in the portion of Kashmir India controls

RIYADH: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday vowed to hold peace talks with arch-rival India following elections in the neighboring country, after a similar offer from the former cricketer was “rebuffed.”
Khan made the announcement during a speech at a Saudi Arabian investment conference where the newly minted leader launched a charm offensive targeting potential investors as Pakistan seeks to secure funds amid a yawning balance of payment crisis.
“When I won the elections and came to power the first thing I tried to do was extend a hand of peace to India,” Khan told the crowd at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh, saying the overture was later “rebuffed” by Delhi.
“Now what we are hoping is that we wait until the elections then again we will resume our peace talks with India,” he added, referring to upcoming nationwide polls scheduled to take place by mid-May.
In September India pulled the plug on a rare meeting between its foreign minister and her Pakistani counterpart on the sidelines of a UN summit — a move that was termed “arrogant” by Khan and unleashed a barrage of insults from both sides.
India has long accused Pakistan of backing militants in Kashmir, a Himalayan territory divided between the two countries but claimed in full by both since independence in 1947.
Delhi has stationed about 500,000 soldiers in the portion of Kashmir it controls, where separatist groups demand independence or a merger with Pakistan.
Khan’s call for peace talks comes as his administration is desperately seeking funds from “friendly” countries, including Saudi Arabia, to shore up Pakistan’s deteriorating finances.
The prime minister’s attendance at the FII comes as leading policy-makers and corporate chiefs shunned the conference in response to the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
During his address at the FII Khan confirmed that Pakistan was also in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over a new bailout.
Since taking power in August Khan has also sought loans from allies such as China and Saudi Arabia, promised to recover funds stolen by corrupt officials, and embarked on a series of high-profile populist austerity measures.
But help has been in short supply and economists’ warnings have grown increasingly urgent.