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Family held captive by Taliban-linked group released

  • Caitlan Coleman, 31, and her husband Joshua Boyle, 34, were released on Wednesday 
  • The couple were abducted in Afghanistan in 2012 when she was pregnant with their first child
  • The pair were taken by the Haqqani network and have been held in Pakistan ever since  
  • The family were seen last week in a newly-released video that was filmed by their captors in 2016
  • On Wednesday, the Pakistani government facilitated their release in a joint effort with US officials
  • Trump and his officials have in the past accused Pakistan of fostering terror networks for too long 
  • He said the family's release proved the country's renewed respect for the US  

By Jennifer Smith For Dailymail.com

Published: 08:24 EDT, 12 October 2017 | Updated: 10:19 EDT, 12 October 2017

An American woman, her Canadian husband and the three children they had in captivity have been released after years held hostage by a Taliban-linked terrorist network.

Caitlan Coleman, 32, was given back to US commandos along with her husband Joshua Boyle, 34, and their three young children in a secretive exchange that was facilitated by Pakistani officials late on Wednesday night. 

The woman and her husband were abducted five years ago by the Haqqani network as they traveled through Afghanistan. 

On Thursday, President Trump revealed that the pair have been held in Pakistan ever since. 

Caitlan, who grew up in Pennsylvania, was pregnant at the time they were captured. 

In the five years since, she has had more than three children - some of whom have died.

The couple were last seen in a video that was sent to their families in December last year. They appeared with two of their young children in the disturbing footage in which she described being 'defiled' in front of their families. 

No ransom had ever been requested by their captors. Instead, they wanted US and Canadian officials to secure the release of Afghan prisoners in Kabul.  

Scroll down for videos 

Caitlan Coleman, her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle and their three young children who were born in captivity, were released by their Taliban-linked captors on Wednesday night. They are seen above in a video that was filmed last year with two of their children. Officials say they have a third 
Caitlan Coleman, her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle and their three young children who were born in captivity, were released by their Taliban-linked captors on Wednesday night. They are seen above in a video that was filmed last year with two of their children. Officials say they have a third 

Caitlan Coleman, her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle and their three young children who were born in captivity, were released by their Taliban-linked captors on Wednesday night. They are seen above in a video that was filmed last year with two of their children. Officials say they have a third 

The couple (shown above before they were captured) were traveling in Afghanistan when they were taken 
The couple (shown above before they were captured) were traveling in Afghanistan when they were taken 

The couple (shown above before they were captured) were traveling in Afghanistan when they were taken 

In the 2016 footage, Caitlan was dressed in a headscarf sitting next to her husband and their children who were seen for the first time. The youngest, whose age is not known, had a pacifier in his mouth.

Since then, they are understood to have had a third child whose sex, name or age is unknown. 

TRUMP CONFIRMS FAMILY'S RELEASE 

Yesterday, the US Government working in conjunction with the Government of Pakistan, secured the release of the Boyle-Coleman family from captivity in Pakistan. 

Today they are free. This is a positive moment for our country's relationship with Pakistan. 

The Pakistani government's cooperation is a sign that it is honoring America's wishes for it to do more to provide security in the region.

We hope to see this type of cooperation and teamwork in helping secure the release of remaining hostages and in our future joint counterterrorism operations. 

In previous videos, she referred to other children who she has had to mourn and suggested that she was raped by her captors.   

Details of where the exchange took place or the circumstances which prompted it have not been confirmed. 

In as statement on Thursday however, President Trump commended Pakistani officials for facilitating it and said it was symbolic of the country's renewed relationship with the US. 

'Yesterday, the US Government working in conjunction with the Government of Pakistan, secured the release of the Boyle-Coleman family from captivity in Pakistan

'Today they are free. This is a positive moment for our country's relationship with Pakistan. 

'The Pakistani government's cooperation is a sign that it is honoring America's wishes for it to do more to provide security in the region.

'We hope to see this type of cooperation and teamwork in helping secure the release of remaining hostages and in our future joint counterterrorism operations.' 

Trump had criticized the country in the past for not doing enough to crack down on the Haqqanis and President Trump's administration has cranked up the pressure on its government to do more. 

On Wednesday, before the family's release was confirmed, the president alluded to it during a speech in Coleman's home state.

2013: In one of their first videos in captivity, the pair look forlorn as they address the camera. Joshua was drastically thinner than he had been when they were captured and he had a long, unkempt beard 
2013: In one of their first videos in captivity, the pair look forlorn as they address the camera. Joshua was drastically thinner than he had been when they were captured and he had a long, unkempt beard 

2013: In one of their first videos in captivity, the pair look forlorn as they address the camera. Joshua was drastically thinner than he had been when they were captured and he had a long, unkempt beard 

2013: In another video that they said was taken in 2013, Joshua has been allowed to trim his beard and appears to have put on weight while Caitlan remains gaunt  
2013: In another video that they said was taken in 2013, Joshua has been allowed to trim his beard and appears to have put on weight while Caitlan remains gaunt  

2013: In another video that they said was taken in 2013, Joshua has been allowed to trim his beard and appears to have put on weight while Caitlan remains gaunt  

By 2016, Caitlan had given birth to at least three children, according to officials. Joshua had been allowed to wear western clothes and was more closely shaven 
By 2016, Caitlan had given birth to at least three children, according to officials. Joshua had been allowed to wear western clothes and was more closely shaven 

By 2016, Caitlan had given birth to at least three children, according to officials. Joshua had been allowed to wear western clothes and was more closely shaven 

'Something happened today, where a country that totally disrespected us called with some very, very important news. 

'And one of my generals came in. They said, "You know, I have to tell you, a year ago they would've never done that." It was a great sign of respect. You'll probably be hearing about it over the next few days. But this is a country that did not respect us. 

'This is a country that respects us now. The world is starting to respect us again, believe me,' he said cryptically. 

In 2014, Coleman pleaded with President Barack Obama to bring her and her husband home. 

At the time, she made reference to their one child. 

'I am prisoner of the Taliban. 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,' she said. 

The pair addressed Trump who, at the time, had recently won the presidential election and was preparing for his inauguration. 

'Donald Trump, the legacy of a millenia of demon worship in this country, is that those who speak high and noble of islamic ideals are not simply going to release our family easily because it is correct. 

'They want money, power, friends. You must give them these things before progress can be made,' she said.   

When they were abducted, the pair's families said they were innocent but naive adventure seekers who had traveled through dangerous areas in the past 
When they were abducted, the pair's families said they were innocent but naive adventure seekers who had traveled through dangerous areas in the past 

When they were abducted, the pair's families said they were innocent but naive adventure seekers who had traveled through dangerous areas in the past 

Caitlan, who grew up in Stewartstown, Pennsylvania, was allowed to write letters to her family 
Caitlan, who grew up in Stewartstown, Pennsylvania, was allowed to write letters to her family 

Caitlan, who grew up in Stewartstown, Pennsylvania, was allowed to write letters to her family 

In the first videos, Joshua appeared gaunt and drastically thinner than he had been when the pair were taken. He also appeared to have grown a long, unkempt beard. 

In 2014,  the couple's families were given false hope that they would be released. 

On Wednesday night, President Trump alluded to the family's release during a speech in Coleman's home state of Pennsylvania (above) 
On Wednesday night, President Trump alluded to the family's release during a speech in Coleman's home state of Pennsylvania (above) 

On Wednesday night, President Trump alluded to the family's release during a speech in Coleman's home state of Pennsylvania (above) 

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had just been released after five years in captivity with the same network. Coleman's family hoped at the time that Caitlan and Joshua would be released as part of the same deal but they were not. 

As part of his release, Obama allowed five Guantanamo Bay detainees to be released to Qatar. 

They were all connected to the Haqqani network. After his release and return to the US, Bergdahl was charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. 

Army officials say he abandoned his post before he was taken hostage and that the decision exposed others to threat.  

He had denied the charges until Thursday when suddenly, as news of Coleman and Boyle's release spread, it emerged he was considering a plea deal in his military court case.  

Trump has not indicated what concessions he made - if any - to facilitate Coleman and Boyle's release. 

During his election campaign, he referred to Bergdahl repeatedly as a 'traitor'. Bergdahl's lawyers said his comments prevented him from getting a fair trial.  

Bowe Bergdahl was released by the same terror group in 2014 after five years of captivity. He had been taken hostage by the Haqqani network after allegedly deserting his post in Afghanistan. He was charged with desertion upon his return to the US and, on Thursday, scheduled a court hearing to enter a plea - a move which coincided with Coleman and Boyle's release 
Bowe Bergdahl was released by the same terror group in 2014 after five years of captivity. He had been taken hostage by the Haqqani network after allegedly deserting his post in Afghanistan. He was charged with desertion upon his return to the US and, on Thursday, scheduled a court hearing to enter a plea - a move which coincided with Coleman and Boyle's release 

Bowe Bergdahl was released by the same terror group in 2014 after five years of captivity. He had been taken hostage by the Haqqani network after allegedly deserting his post in Afghanistan. He was charged with desertion upon his return to the US and, on Thursday, scheduled a court hearing to enter a plea - a move which coincided with Coleman and Boyle's release 

During their captivity, Coleman and Boyle's desperate families made pleading videos which they hoped would encourage their release. In one, Boyle's mother appeared wearing a headscarf in an effort to win over their captors.

They have spoken in other interviews about receiving letters from the pair in which they proudly described their two young sons. 

In a piece for The Toronto Star published in June, Joshua's sister wrote: 'In one of his letters Josh talks about how he and Caity are educating the boys “as best as the dire circumstances allow.” 

'He goes on to brag about how Primus (who is roughly 4 years old) knows his times tables up to five times five, the taxonomic ranks (species, kingdom, genus, etc.) and even some Latin.' 

Primus and Secondus, she said, were the names she and her other siblings had given their nameless nephews.  

In this 2014 photograph, Caitlan's parents Lyn and Jim (right) appear with Patrick and Linda Boyle (left) holding a photograph of the couple 
In this 2014 photograph, Caitlan's parents Lyn and Jim (right) appear with Patrick and Linda Boyle (left) holding a photograph of the couple 

In this 2014 photograph, Caitlan's parents Lyn and Jim (right) appear with Patrick and Linda Boyle (left) holding a photograph of the couple 

TERROR LINKS OF CAPTIVE COUPLE: Joshua Boyle's previous marriage to 'Canada's first family of terrorism'

Caitlan Coleman isn't Joshua Boyle's first wife, in fact, the Canadian son of a judge was previously married to a woman with terror links

Boyle was previously married to Zaynab Khadr - the sister of Canadian Omar Khadr who was held at Guantanamo Bay for war crimes

He was one of the youngest held at the camp after being captured aged just 15

The teen was accused of killing American soldier Sgt Christopher Speer with a hand grenade in Afghanistan in 2002 and planting mines to target US vehicles

In 2010, he pleaded guilty to war crimes and murder in a plea deal which resulted in an eight year sentence

He is serving the remainder of his sentence in a medium security facility in Alberta after being transferred in 2012

His legal appeals continue. 

His eldest sister Zaynab was an outspoken campaigner for her brother's release and Joshua Boyle worked as the family spokesman

According to Canadian reports their father, Ahmed, was a close friend of Osama bin Laden

He died in a fire-fight with Pakistan forces on the Afghan border

It is alleged that bin Laden attended Zaynab's first marriage in Afghanistan before she divorced and met Boyle

In light of these links, a Conservative politician dubbed them 'Canada's first family of terrorism' and called for their deportation

Boyle and Khadr were married just a year before they split. A year later Boyle married Coleman

A US official told the Associated Press that it was a 'horrible coincidence' and said the disappearance of Boyle and Coleman had no link to his previous wife

Joshua Boyle's father Patrick is a tax lawyer who was appointed to the Federal Court of Canada in 2007 - he is married to Joshua's mother Linda. They are active in the Catholic church in Ottawa, according to The Star

Joshua studied English at the University of Windsor and journalism at Niagara College 


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