December 21, 2016
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN — An Afghan Taliban official said Wednesday that it released the video of a kidnapped American-Canadian couple and their two children to renew attention on their detention and press their governments to meet the group’s demands.
The video surfaced on Monday, showing American Caitlan Coleman, her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle and their two children, who were born in captivity, pleading with their governments to negotiate with the captors.
Coleman and Boyle were taken hostage in 2012 as they were backpacking in the Afghan province of Wardak. Coleman was pregnant at the time with their first child.
“We have released the video in order to draw attention to the issue and force relevant governments to meet our demands,” the Taliban official told VOA, requesting anonymity.
He refused to elaborate on the demands, saying they have been communicated to “relevant quarters.”
The insurgent groups want, among other things, the release of Taliban prisoners and an immediatehalt to executions of those on death row in Afghan jails.
Coleman is shown in the video appealing to both U.S. President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump to rescue her family, warning the kidnappers are determined not to free them unless their demands are met.
“They want money, power, and friends [Taliban prisoners]. You must give them these things before progress can be made. A five-year hostage-taking is too long and indicates failure on every side,” she said while reading a statement that claimed the video was filmed December 3.
Following the video’s release, State Department spokesman John Kirby Tuesday reiterated Washington’s call for the family’s unconditional release.
“We obviously remain, as we have been, gravely concerned about the family’s welfare…The threat to harm this innocent family violates all humanitarian and religious standards,” he noted.
Kirby also denounced the appearance of the couple’s children in the hostage video.
“It’s obviously reprehensible to hold them in the first place…But to include children in the video is specifically despicable to do. So again, we want to see them all home, we want to see them all safely returned, and I can assure you that this Administration will continue to work very, very hard to see that outcome,” he added.
The Canadian government has also called for the unconditional release of the family.
The last time the Taliban released a video of the couple was in August this year, though it did not show the children. Both Coleman and Boyle in that video had warned their captors would kill them unless their demands were met.
The family is allegedly being held hostage by the Haqqani network. The terrorist group fights alongside the Taliban against U.S.-led international forces and their Afghan partners to dislodge the Kabul government.