When Josh Boyle and his family were rescued from a Taliban-linked group in Afghanistan last week, the Canadian father of three said he thought his captors were joking when they told him Donald Trump was president of the United States.
Boyle and his American-born wife, Caitlin Coleman, who was pregnant with her first child at the time, were kidnapped by the Haqqani network in later 2012 while hiking in Afghanistan. The couple had two more children while in captivity. All five were rescued by Pakistani forces working off of U.S. intelligence.
Boyle learned Trump was president while being forced to participate in a “proof-of-life” video and one of the captors mentioned Trump had just been elected president. Boyle said he took the comment as a joke. Generally he received very little information about the outside world — he didn’t even know Justin Trudeau was prime minister in his native Canada.
Boyle said he and his family were severely mistreated while in captivity, enduring beatings and worse.
Boyle described his family’s captors as “people who have no relationships in life that are not purely mercenary.”
“They have no real friends, only cohorts. They have no wives, children,” he added. “Those we met who were not orphans spoke of hating their parents.”
The group that captured Boyle and Coleman is the same group responsible for the kidnapping of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl after he wandered away from his unit under mysterious circumstances.
Bergdahl was held for five years before he was ultimately released to the U.S. in a trade for five top Afghan Taliban commanders. Bergdahl pleaded guilty to charges of desertion and misbehavior on Monday.