A Canadian man who was held hostage with his family in Afghanistan for five years, opened up about life after captivity and revealed he was surprised to learn Donald Trump was the president of the United States.

Joshua Boyle, his American wife Caitlan Coleman and their three children were rescued Wednesday, five years after the couple was abducted by the Taliban-linked Haqqani network, on a backpacking trip in Afghanistan.

After being shut out from the world by the terrorists, Boyle told the Toronto Star he was surprised to learn from his captors that Trump was elected president. Boyle said he learned of Trump’s election before filming a “proof-of-life” video.

FILE - In this file image from video released by Taliban Media in December 2016, Caitlan Coleman talks in the video while her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle holds their two children. The couple and their three children were rescued Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2017, five years after the couple was abducted in Afghanistan on a backpacking trip. The children were born in captivity. (Taliban Media via AP)

Caitlan Coleman, her husband Joshua Boyle and three children were rescued Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2017 five years after the couple was abducted in Afghanistan on a backpacking trip.  (AP)

“It didn’t enter my mind that [his captor] was being serious,” Boyle told the Toronto Star.

Boyle explained to The Associated Press in an email interview why he and wife had their children while being held hostage.

“We’re sitting as hostages with a lot of time on our hands,” Boyle told The Associated Press in an email Monday. “We always wanted as many as possible, and we didn’t want to waste time. Cait’s in her 30s, the clock is ticking.”

“Hey, let’s make the best of this and at least go home with a larger start on our dream family,” Boyle said.

Boyle said the kids are now 4, 2 and “somewhere around 6 months.”


“Honestly we’ve always planned to have a family of 5, 10, 12 children … We’re Irish, haha,” he wrote.

Coleman was pregnant at the time of their abduction and had the children while she was held hostage.

ADDS NAME OF SON JONAH-Joshua Boyle and his son Jonah play in the garden at his parents house in Smiths Falls, Ont., on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. A couple held hostage for five years by a Taliban-linked network and forced to raise three children while in captivity were initially targeted for ransom because of the impending birth of their first child, the Canadian man at the heart of the case speculated Saturday. Boyle said he and his wife Caitlan Coleman heard at least half a dozen reasons why they had been snatched from a village in Afghanistan and held against their will by the Haqqani network over the years they were imprisoned. (Lars Hagberg/The Canadian Press via AP)

Joshua Boyle and his son Jonah played in the garden at his parents house in Ontario, on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017.  (AP)

Boyle said after landing at Toronto’s airport Friday that the Haqqani network killed their infant daughter and raped his wife during the years they were held.

The Taliban claimed in a statement Sunday that it was a miscarriage.

Boyle, who returned to his parents’ home in Smiths Falls, Ontario, called the residence “the first true home” that his children have ever known.

Boyle told the Toronto Star that his son Jonah, 4, was so excited to be in a new place with toys that it took him hours to fall asleep.

“Last night he (Jonah) wouldn’t close his eyes because he was so excited and he just wanted to sit on his pile of toys with a gigantic smile on his face,” Boyle said. “It took him about three hours to fall asleep, and it wasn’t three hours of panic. It was three hours where he just wanted to really, really cherish this gigantic rabbit and these plastic Lego blocks and these toys, and he wanted to sit there and bask in being ‘no bandi’ (hostages) after all of this time.”

Boyle said his middle child, Noah, was having a hard time adjusting to his new freedom.

“[Noah’s] not having a temper tantrum; it’s that he saw the color of orange and orange scares him, or that he saw a screwdriver and screwdrivers scare him. Boots scare him,” Boyle said.


When police came to the house on Saturday, Boyle said his son became upset because the officers wore boots.

“He’s not scared of [police officers,] specifically. He’s scared of the boots,” Boyle said. “Because the only people he has seen wear boots are people who are coming in to kick you.”

This still image made from a 2013 video released by the Coleman family shows Caitlan Coleman and her husband, Canadian Joshua Boyle in a militant video given to the family. The American woman, her Canadian husband and their three young children have been released in October 2017 after years of being held captive by a network with ties to the Taliban. The two were abducted five years ago while traveling in Afghanistan and have been held by the Haqqani network. The couple had three children while in captivity. (Coleman family via AP)

Canadian Joshua Boyle and his pregnant American wife Caitlan Coleman were abducted five years ago while traveling in Afghanistan and then were held by the Haqqani network.  (AP)

Boyle’s wife, Coleman, has remained silent since being freed.

Boyle said in an earlier statement that he had gone to Afghanistan with his pregnant wife to help villagers “who live deep inside Taliban-controlled Afghanistan where no NGO, no aid worker and no government has ever successfully been able to bring the necessary help.”

Boyle was once briefly married to Zaynab Khadr, the older sister of former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr and the daughter of a senior al-Qaida financier who had contacts with Usama bin Laden.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.