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.


India calls off foreign ministers’ meeting with Pakistan

Updated 22 September 2018
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India calls off foreign ministers’ meeting with Pakistan

  • The Indian government’s decision to hold talks with Pakistan was strongly criticized by the Congress party and other opposition groups
  • Pakistan said it regretted India’s decision not to meet

NEW DELHI: India called off a planned meeting between its foreign minister and her Pakistani counterpart on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York this month, aggravating tensions between the longtime rivals.
External Affairs Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said Friday India’s decision to pull out of the meeting, which had been announced just a day earlier, follows the killing of an Indian border guard in Kashmir and Pakistan’s glorification of insurgents fighting Indian rule in the Himalayan territory.
The Indian government’s decision to hold talks with Pakistan was strongly criticized by the Congress party and other opposition groups after rebels in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir killed the border guard and later raided over a dozen homes of police officers and abducted three. The bullet-riddled bodies of the three policemen were recovered Friday. India accuses Pakistan of arming and training the insurgents, a charge Pakistan denies.
The announcement on Thursday of the planned meeting had been considered an encouraging sign for restarting stalled talks between the nuclear-armed South Asian neighbors. Pakistan and India have fought two of their three wars since independence in 1947 over the disputed region of Kashmir, divided between the two countries but sought by each in its entirety.
Pakistan said it regretted India’s decision not to meet, with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi saying that “clapping can’t be done with a single hand.”
He said Pakistan wanted peace and stability in the region, but that India was perhaps more worried about “internal politics.”
“We want to get out of the past and we have taken a step forward but unfortunately India has taken a step back,” he said in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital.
Pakistan Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said “an extremist segment in India doesn’t want to see Pakistan and India move ahead on the path of dialogue to resolves issues.”
The Indian spokesman said that New Delhi had agreed to hold the meeting in response to a letter from Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, stressing the need to bring positive change, a mutual desire for peace, and a readiness to discuss terrorism.
“Now, it is obvious that behind Pakistan’s proposal for talks to make a fresh beginning, the evil agenda of Pakistan stands exposed and the true face of the new prime minister of Pakistan Imran Khan has been revealed to the world in his first few months in office,” he said in a statement.
Any conversation with Pakistan in such an environment would be meaningless, Kumar said.
Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a formal statement described the comments about Khan as “most unfortunate” and “against all norms of civilized discourse and diplomatic communication.”
Rejecting Indian allegations, the statement said the reasons cited by the Indian side for the cancelation of the meeting, within 24 hours of its public confirmation, were “entirely unconvincing as the alleged killing of BSF soldier took place two days prior to the Indian announcement of its agreement to hold the bilateral meeting.”
India’s relations with Pakistan have deteriorated since Modi came to power in 2014.