The parents of Caitlan Coleman and Joshua Boyle — an adventure-seeking couple abducted by the Taliban in 2012 while Coleman was pregnant with the couple’s first child — are calling for the American and Canadian governments to rescue their children in the wake of the prisoner exchange that brought Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl home.
The parents released video footage Wednesday depicting Coleman and Boyle in captivity, begging their governments to rescue them. The footage was sent to Coleman’s father last summer, but only released Wednesday, as Bergdahl’s release dominated the news.
Here’s what you need to know about the couple:
1. Coleman & Boyle Lost Contact With Relatives in October 2012
The AP reported that the couple had been communicating with relatives, but the communication stopped abruptly in October, 2012 after Boyle emailed home from an Internet cafe in what he called an “unsafe” part of Afghanistan. The last withdrawls from the couple’s bank account were made October 8 and October 9, 2012 in Kabul, according to the AP.
Two months later, an Afghan official told the AP that the couple had been abducted in Wardak, Providence.
Coleman’s parents released the video above in December 2012, pleading for their daughter’s return and saying that she was in serious need of medical attention because of a liver problem.
2. A Man Claiming to Have Taliban Connections Sent the Videos to Coleman’s Dad
The Associated Press reports videos of the couple pleading for the government to rescue them were emailed to Coleman’s father last summer claiming to have had ties to the Taliban.
The man’s identity was not clear. The AP reports the U.S. government believes the videos are legitimate but have limited investigative value because it’s not clear when or where they were recorded.
The videos include Boyle saying that the couple requests that the American and Canadian governments “do what is necessary to bring our family together to safety and freedom.”
3. The Couple’s Baby Was Due Shortly After Coleman & Boyle Were Captured
Coleman and Boyl were due to come home in late December so Coleman could give birth. The baby, who would now be 18 months old, was presumably born in captivity, but no pictures or videos of the baby have been revealed — a factor U.S. government officials told the AP they find concerning.
4. Boyle’s Former Brother-in-Law Was Detained for 10 Years at Guantanimo Bay
Boyle’s ex-wife is the sister of Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen captured by U.S. forces in 2002 when he was only 15 and imprisoned for 10 years at Guantanamo Bay after being involved in a firefight with U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
U.S. officials have told the AP they don’t think Boyle’s ties to Khadr have anything to do with his capture.
5. The Couple’s Relatives Described Them as ‘Naive’ Adventure Seekers
Relatives described the couple to the AP as “well-intentioned but naive adventure-seekers.”
The AP reports:
They once spent months traveling through Latin America, where they lived among indigenous Guatemalans and where Boyle grew a long beard that led some children to call him “Santa Claus.” The couple set off again in the summer of 2012 for a journey that took them to Russia, the central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and then to Afghanistan.
Bolye’s dad Patrick, a judge in Canada, told the AP the two made a foolish mistake by going into Afghanistan, but that their safety should be treated with the same urgency as that of Bergdahl, who’s been accused by fellow soldiers of abandoning his post prior to being captured in 2009.
“It would be no more appropriate to have our government turn their backs on their citizens than to turn their backs on those who serve,” he said.