A video released by the parents of American Caitlin Coleman, who went missing along with her husband in Afghanistan in October of 2012, shows the couple pleading for the U.S. government to save them from their Taliban captors.
A pregnant Coleman and her husband, Canadian Joshua Boyle, went to Central Asia in 2012 on vacation to hike and see what the area was like. The places they were visiting were not normally visited by Westerners such as themselves, and on Oct. 8, 2012 Boyle emailed his family to let them know he was in an area that felt unsafe. What happened next is unclear, however that email ended up being the last message either family received from the couple before they went missing.
In two short videos received by Coleman’s parents last year from an Afghan man claiming to have ties to the Taliban, the couple calls on the U.S. government to free them and their now-18-month-old child from their Taliban captors. The 28-year-old Coleman says in one video, “I would ask that my family and my government do everything that they can to bring my husband, child and I to safety and freedom.”
Coleman’s parents said that they chose to make the videos public now in light of the publicity surrounding the recent release of American POW Bowe Bergdahl, and although their families are disappointed they were’t freed in the same deal, they are still holding out hope. Boyle’s father said in a telephone interview, “It would be no more appropriate to have our government turn their backs on their citizens than to turn their backs on those who serve.”
Coleman’s father added, ”It’s an event that just stands out. I think it cries out to the world: ‘This can’t be. These people must be let go immediately.’”
Joshua Boyle used to be married to the sister of Omar Khadr, a Canadian man who spent 10 years in Guantanamo Bay after being arrested in a firefight at an al-Qaida compound in Afghanistan, but U.S. officials have been quick to write off the couple’s capture as a mere coincidence unrelated to this fact.
U.S. law enforcement officials have looked at the videos, but they can’t discern much since there is no time stamp on them and the background is simply draped cloth. A spokesman for Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs said officials have been working with Afghan authorities regarding their disappearance.
“We love them,” Coleman’s mother told the Associated Press, “and they’re needed here. And we need to get them back home.”