Friday, 24 November 2017

Taliban Deny Fighters Raped American Hostage and Killed Baby

Caitlan Coleman

KABUL: The Taliban on Sunday denied an assertion by a freed Canadian hostage that his American wife had been raped during their five years of captivity and that their infant had been killed by the Haqqani Network, a brutal arm of the Afghan insurgency.

The militants said the child had died during a miscarriage.

Soon after arriving in Toronto on Friday with his wife, Caitlan Coleman, and their three children, the former captive, Joshua Boyle, said that she had been raped by members of the Haqqani Network.

He also said that the network had authorized “the murder of my infant daughter,” their fourth child. Ms. Coleman was pregnant when the couple was abducted in 2012 while traveling in Afghanistan.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, rejected the accusations of rape as “fabricated claims” fed to Mr. Boyle.

“From the beginning up to their freedom, the wife and the husband were not separated even for a few minutes – and the reason for that was to avoid any suspicions,” the spokesman said by telephone

When Ms. Coleman was about to deliver the child, Mr. Mujahid said, there were no doctors in the area where they were being held.

“One female child was naturally miscarried,” Mr. Mujahid said. “No one has intentionally killed the child or carried out any other abuse on them. If that was our plan, they would not have gone home with three children.”

Many questions about the family’s travels to Afghanistan, their captivity and their eventual release remain unanswered. Several members of the Taliban leadership reached by phone repeated the lines put out in their statement without offering new details.

Mr. Mujahid also declined to talk about how the couple had been freed, saying that “only the few people guarding them” had details of the release and that he was still trying to reach those people.

Pakistani officials have said that the family was freed in northwestern tribal areas of the country after their forces acted on intelligence provided to them by the United States.

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