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American-Canadian couple held in Afghanistan plead for release in new video

Screen grab, YouTube

An American-Canadian couple held hostage by the Taliban have appeared in a new video with their two children born in captivity, asking US President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump to secure their release.


Canadian national Joshua Boyle and American citizen Caitlan Coleman have had two children since being kidnapped in Afghanistan in 2012 during a backpacking trip while Coleman was pregnant.

In the four-minute video shared by the SITE Intelligence group, the couple were shown with their two young sons. 

"Today is December 3rd, 2016. We have waited, since 2012, for somebody to understand our problems, the Kafakaesque nightmare in which we find ourselves," Coleman says in the video as she appealed to both Obama and Trump to rescue her family.

"We understand both sides hate us, and are content to leave us, and our two surviving children, in these problems. But we can only ask that somebody will recognise the atrocities that these men carry out against us as so-called retaliation."

It was not clear if Coleman was reading from a script or expressing herself in her own words.

In a written message contained in the video, the kidnappers call for their demands to be met in exchange for the couple's release.

"For if you agree to our demands then we will release your citizens but if not then you will face dangerous consequences," it said.

The couple last appeared in a video in August, urging their respective governments to pressure Kabul to change its policy on the execution of captured insurgents.

Kabul hanged six Taliban-linked inmates in May, the first executions carried out as part of President Ashraf Ghani's new hard-line policy against militants.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said he could not immediately comment on the latest video when contacted by AFP.

There was also no immediate reaction from the US State Department or the Afghan government.

Earlier this year, Caitlan's parents James and Lyn Coleman, who live in Pennsylvania, appealed in a video to the Taliban to release the couple and their children.

The Colemans last saw their daughter in July 2012, when she set off for Russia on a hiking trip with Boyle that took them through Central Asia and ultimately into war-torn Afghanistan.

The couple told Circa News that they got a letter from Caitlan last November proving that she and Boyle were still alive and announcing that she had given birth to a second son.

The couple were also seen in a video emailed to her parents in 2013 in which they asked the US government and their families to secure their release.

The Colemans made the video public after Bowe Bergdahl, a US Army sergeant held captive for five years in Afghanistan, was freed in a prisoner swap.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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