Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Family held captive by Taliban-linked group released in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON — An American woman and her family who have been held hostage by militants in Afghanistan for five years have been freed, ending a case that has long frustrated diplomats and FBI agents involved in trying to secure their release, according to people familiar with the situation.

The family was in Pakistan early Thursday, and the White House was preparing to release a statement once they are safely in U.S. hands, according to people who described their status on condition of anonymity because the details have not yet been made public.

Media in the region reported that the Pakistani military had initially taken custody of the family.

The family was freed with the help of another country, the person said, but it was not clear what, if any, concessions were made to the Haqqani network, the Taliban faction that had seized Caitlan Coleman, 31, and her Canadian husband, Josh Boyle, 34.

The pair was taken in October 2012 while backpacking in the Wardak province, a militant stronghold near Kabul. At the time of her abduction, Coleman was pregnant. She had two more children in captivity, adding pressure to resolve an already desperate situation.

Previously, the Haqqani network had demanded the release of Anas Haqqani, one of their commanders. The Afghan government managed to capture him in 2014, and he was sentenced to death. The group had threatened to kill the family if the Afghans executed him.

In December, the militants released a video of the family, including footage depicting her two children. She described her time as a hostage as "Kafkaesque" and said she had been "defiled."

"Their group will do us harm and punish us," she said. "So we ask that you are merciful to their people and, God willing, they will release us."

During a video made public in August 2016, Coleman urged the U.S. government to "help stop this depravity." She also said her captors "will execute us."

In January 2016, Colin Rutherford, a Canadian, was freed after Qatar arranged a prisoner swap with the Afghan government. Officials had hoped Rutherford would be the first in a series of releases, including Coleman and her family.

But it didn't happen for reasons that remain unclear.

Family held captive by Taliban-linked group released in Afghanistan 10/12/17 [Last modified: Thursday, October 12, 2017 10:40am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, New York Times.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Study: When you die, your brain knows you're dead

    Health

    Have you ever wondered what happens after you die?

    According to a new study from NYU, researchers say that a person's brain may function after their death. [iStockPhoto]

  2. Gradebook podcast: On HB 7069, with Palm Beach schools superintendent Robert Avossa

    Blogs

    After months of discussion, several Florida school districts filed suit against the Legislature over the contentious HB 7069, calling parts of it unconstitutional. At the same time, some of them also sought grant funding established in the same measure. The Palm Beach County school district did both. Superintendent …

    Palm Beach superintendent Robert Avossa
  3. Tampa police schedule update at 11 a.m. on three Seminole Heights deaths

    Crime

    TAMPA — Tampa police have scheduled a news conference at 11 a.m. for an update on their investigation of three suspicious deaths in southeast Seminole Heights during the past two weeks.

    Interim Tampa police Chief Brian Dugan addresses reporters about the latest suspicious death in southeast Seminole Heights Thursday night. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL | Times]
  4. Hooper: Jean Chatzky chats about the intersection of wealth, health

    Personal Finance

    Public safety officials can readily identify a city's most dangerous intersections.

    Personal finance adviser Jean Chatzky is one of several high profile speakers on the slate for the Women's Conference of Florida in Tampa next week. [Handout photo]
  5. Video: Buckhorn, Kriseman team up in Tampa Bay pitch to Amazon

    Economic Development

    Across the United States, cities and metro areas are in a frenzied bidding war to convince Amazon their regions are the best fit for its new headquarters, HQ2.

    The Tampa Bay area is no exception. …

    The first  video, rolled out on Oct. 19, 2017, features Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, left, and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman welcoming Amazon and talking about why Tampa Bay would be a perfect fit for the second Amazon headquarters.