-- As American Caitlan Coleman flies to Toronto today with her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle and their three children after five years in Taliban captivity, tensions between the couple’s families surrounding circumstances of their abduction and the decisions about their journey home have already begun to flare.
As thrilled as the two families are — hers in Stewartstown, Penn., and his in Ottawa, Canada — the couple's exodus has exposed anger built up over a five-years ordeal. In an exclusive interview with ABC News that aired Friday on Good Morning America, Caitlan’s father Jim said he remains angry at his daughter’s husband for taking her to Afghanistan in the first place.
“What I can say is taking your pregnant wife to a very dangerous place is to me and the kind of person I am, is unconscionable,” he said. “I can’t imagine doing that myself. But, I think that’s all I want to say about that.”
Jim, a retiree who has worked exhaustively for five years in a largely secret effort to secure his daughter's freedom — building a network of counterterrorism, political, media, military, tribal and diplomatic sources —is also struggling to understand why his son-in-law has apparently rejected assistance from the U.S. military.
“I don’t know what five years in captivity would do to somebody but if it were me and I saw you a US aircraft and US soldiers, I’d be running for it, OK?” Jim said. “But, I don't -- like I said, I don't know what five years in captivity would do to a person.”
After a tense negotiation, Boyle and his family are on their way to Canada aboard a commercial flight.
"Thank you, thank you, Mr. President, my friend," he said.
Trump had not called the Colemans personally as of Thursday night, however, a common practice by past presidents, though he did thank the Pakistani government for their efforts in a press conference on Thursday, hailing the news as a sign that the country was “starting to respect the United States again.”
"He did not have an objection to who was transporting them," Patrick Boyle insisted, based on his discussions with his son. "He and Cait had decided they wanted to return back directly to Canada and not go to Bagram and Landstuhl."
Neither the Boyle or Coleman families had known about the planned SEAL combat operation to rescue the family before ABC News disclosed the operation to each of them today.
The Pentagon-run Joint Personnel Recovery Agency has developed an elaborate repatriation program for released prisoners of war and freed hostages to help them readjust to life outside of extreme and austere imprisonment -- but Boyle and Coleman have rejected entering the program, against the wishes of their parents, they each said.
"Their biggest problem is they won't have even made basic day to day decisions [in captivity],” said Patrick, Joshua’s father. “They will have forgotten how to, or that they even need to.”
Still, both families are rejoicing at their release and anxiously awaiting their return.
"Yesterday was the happiest day of my life. I still cannot believe it," Caitlan’s mother Lyn told ABC News. "I mean there's just no way to describe how happy that this has made me. To know that my daughter and her family are no longer hostages. Are no longer prisoners. And are going to be back and start a life again. I felt like prayers were answered. And I just wanted to hold them all in my arms as soon as possible."
She said a brief call with Caitlan this week was exhilarating.
“I spoke to her briefly. Early this morning. It was just about ten minutes, and to hear her voice and to have it sound exactly like I remembered."