North American Couple Held Hostage by Taliban Ally Plead for Life
A Canadian man and his American wife who were kidnapped by Taliban allies in 2012 can be seen pleading for their lives in a video that appeared Tuesday on the social media site Telegram.
In the undated video, Joshua Boyle and Caitlan Coleman plead for help from their governments to stop the Afghan government from executing Taliban-linked prisoners. Anas Haqqani, son of Haqqani network founder Jalaluddin Haqqani, may be among those the Afghan government plans to execute, Agence France Presse reports.
The couple is believed to be held captive by the Haqqani network, which is active in the highlands between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
“Our captors are afraid of their own mortality approaching, and are saying that they will take reprisals on our family — they will execute us, women and children included — if the policies of the Afghan government are not overturned,” Boyle said in the video. “Either by the Afghan government or Canada, somehow.”
A visibly frightened Boyle called on the United States and Canada to change the Afghan government’s policies to spare them.
Coleman likewise said that their captors plan to kill her and her family unless their demands are met.
An Afghan Taliban member told The Daily Beast that Boyle, Coleman, and their two children are in good health and are being held in a place where they can move around and exercise.
US officials say they are working to free the family, particularly with help from the Pakistani government, whose military intelligence services, the ISI, has ties with the Haqqani network.
The Haqqani network may be trying to secure a prisoner swap similar to the Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl case, a senior source in the Taliban’s Qatar office told The Daily Beast.
This isn’t the first hostage video involving Boyle and Coleman. Two videos appeared in 2014 in which they asked for American help in securing their release. Those videos were released around the time that Bergdahl was freed.
Coleman’s parents released a video in late June pleading with her captors for her family’s safe release.
Another American is believed to be held by the Haqqani network, but the person’s identity has not been made public.