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The father of a family held hostage by a Taliban-linked group said he and his wife decided to have children in captivity because they always wanted a large family and “didn’t want to waste time.”
Canadian Joshua Boyle was freed last week along with his American wife, Caitlin Coleman, and their three children, five years after the couple was seized by insurgents while backpacking in Afghanistan.
Boyle told The Associated Press that he and Coleman, who was pregnant when they were abducted, had decided to “make the best of this” and “go home with a larger start on our dream family.”
The family’s three children, who are 4, 2 and an infant “somewhere around 6 months,” were all born in captivity.
The couple had “a lot of time on their hands,” Boyle explained to The AP.
“We always wanted as many as possible, and we didn’t want to waste time,” he said in a written exchange, adding that his wife was “in her 30s, the clock is ticking.”
A big family was always the plan, Boyle said.
“Honestly we’ve always planned to have a family of 5, 10, 12 children … We’re Irish, haha,” he said.
Boyle also said a fourth child, a baby daughter, was killed by their captors, members of the Taliban-linked Haqqani network. He also said his wife was raped during their captivity.
The Taliban has denied that captors killed the infant, saying in a statement the death was from a miscarriage.
Coleman has not spoken publicly since her release.
In earlier statements to media, Boyle described the horrific conditions he and his family lived in, including an “underground dungeon” of just 60 square feet and dripping with water. He said their food and beds were covered in mold.
In an interview with TODAY this week, Boyle said the couple’s primary focus was helping their three children adapt to life outside captivity.
The family is living with his parents in Smith Falls, Ontario. All five of them sleep together in one small bedroom, and the children still eat off the floor, he said.
His 4-year-old has started “raiding the first refrigerator of his life,” he said.