A Canadian man who was rescued from captivity in Afghanistan has claimed his wife was raped and their child killed during a five-year ordeal.
Joshua Boyle, his American wife Caitlan Coleman and their three young children arrived in Canada late on Friday night, after a dramatic rescue by commandos on the Afghan-Pakistan border. They had been held captive by the Haqqani network, a group linked to the Taliban.
The existence of the couple’s fourth child was unknown until Mr Boyle announced her death to reporters at Toronto Airport. All their children were born in captivity.
Mr Boyle referred to himself as a “pilgrim” but his motives in travelling to the region remain unclear and have raised suspicion among US security officials.
He said: "The stupidity and evil of the Haqqani network's kidnapping of a pilgrim and his heavily pregnant wife engaged in helping ordinary villagers in Taliban-controlled regions of Afghanistan was eclipsed only by the stupidity and evil of authorising the murder of my infant daughter.
"And the stupidity and evil of the subsequent rape of my wife, not as a lone action, but by one guard, but assisted by the captain of the guard and supervised by the commandant."
Another one of his children is believed to be in poor health and had to be force-fed by their Pakistani rescuers.
Mr Boyle, who is said to be from a fundamentalist Christian background, was backpacking with his heavily pregnant wife in a Taliban-controlled area of the war torn nation, as part of a wider tour of central Asia. They were kidnapped in Wardak province in 2012.
He said he wanted to help people "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."
During his flight to Canada, he gave a statement to the AP which apparently indicated he might not be settling down.
He said: "God has given me and my family unparalleled resilience and determination, and to allow that to stagnate, to pursue personal pleasure or comfort while there is still deliberate and organised injustice in the world would be a betrayal of all I believe, and tantamount to sacrilege."
But later, he added: "It will be of incredible importance to my family that we are able to build a secure sanctuary for our three surviving children to call a home. To try to regain some portion of the childhood that they have lost."
Having arrived at Mr Boyle's family home in Smiths Falls, 50 miles southwest of Ottawa, and being reunited with his parents, who have long campaigned for his release, Mr Boyle said full medical exams were being arranged for him and his family.
In a new statement to the Associated Press he said his family had “reached the first true 'home' that the children have ever known — after they spent most of Friday asking if each subsequent airport was our new house hopefully.”
“Our daughter has had a cursory medical exam last night, and hospital staff were enthusiastically insistent that her chances seemed miraculously high based on a quick physical. Full medical work-ups for each member of my family are being arranged right now, and God-willing the healing process — physically and mentally can begin,” the statement added.
The Canadian government has been accused of not doing enough to help the family but released a statement saying it has been actively engaged with Mr Boyle's case at all levels and would continue to support the family.
Some aspects of the case, in particular why Mr Boyle and Ms Coleman decided to travel to an ungoverned and dangerous part of Afghanistan, are still shrouded in mystery.
Mr Boyle was previously married to Zaynab Khadr, the sister of a man who was arrested by US forces in Afghanistan for alleged ties to al Qaeda.
Some US security officials believe Mr Boyle may have been trying to join jihadi extremists in Afghanistan, and asked why he refused to board a US military flight. Others have said he was just naïve.