'Kafkaesque nightmare' for York County woman held in captivity by Taliban

Georgia ReedDec 22, 2016

A video released in August showed Coleman and Boyle warning that their captors would kill them and their children unless the government in Kabul ends its execution of Taliban prisoners.

American officials responded to the video by referring to statements in August by State Department spokesman John Kirby, who at the time called for the family's "immediate release on humanitarian grounds", and said the USA would "continue to work aggressively" to free American hostages.

Caitlan Coleman also said that if Obama is concerned about his legacy, "please don't become Jimmy Carter", an apparent reference to the former president who failed to win the release of Americans held hostage in Iran, who were freed once Ronald Reagan took office in 1981.

"They want money, power, friends", she said. "You must give them these things before progress can be made", she said of her captors in the Haqqani Network, a notorious hostage-taking criminal gang allied with the Taliban.

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The two vanished after setting off in the summer of 2012 for a journey that took them to Russian Federation, the central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and then to Afghanistan.

The parents say their son told them in a letter that he and his wife have tried to shield the children from the "horrible reality" of living in captivity, pretending they are part of a game being played with guards.

Peter Bergen, director of the New America's International Security program wrote in his CNN blog Tuesday that Canada and the US should negotiate as Anas Haqqani is not regarded as a leader. They couple has begged for the opportunity to return to the country in several videos, in which they both appear a great deal thinner than before their capture by members of the Taliban's Haqqani network, which largely orchestrates kidnappings for ransom.

At the time, State Department spokesman John Kirby called for the family's "immediate release on humanitarian grounds" and said the US would "continue to work aggressively" to return all USA hostages. Jack Reed, D-R.I., said on MSNBC. One figure said the video was from the Haqqani network, described by Reuters as a "close affiliate of the Afghan Taliban".

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In a just-released video, a Pennsylvania woman abducted by the Taliban four years ago sits alongside her husband and two sons born in captivity - seen on camera for the first time - begging for the chance to come home.

(Coleman specifically states it is December 3rd at the beginning of the tape, but that might not be accurate.) It was delivered to US and Canadian authorities, as well as uploaded to YouTube for public display on Monday night after one of the Haqqani prisoners was sentenced to death. Coleman was pregnant with her first child at the time. But Coleman, draped in a black headscarf, signals the direness of their situation when she adds, "My children have seen their mother defiled".

They are believed to be held somewhere on the Pakistan-Afghan border.

The Canadian government has called for unconditional release of the captives.

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