A chilling video released by the Taliban Monday shows a Pennsylvania woman, her husband and their two sons pleading for help from the U.S. government to free them.
Caitlan Coleman, of York County, and her husband Joshua Boyle, from Toronto, Canada, were captured in October 2012, while backpacking through eastern Afghanistan near Kabul, officials have said. At the time, Coleman was pregnant with the couple’s first child; their second was born in captivity.
In the video, 31-year-old Coleman pleads for freedom from the family’s “Kafkaesque nightmare” as Boyle, 33, holds the fidgeting children who were seen for the first time in Monday’s video.
“My children have seen their mother defiled,” she said.
Speaking to the camera, Coleman says: “We ask quickly, in our collective 14th year in prison, urge the government on both sides to reach some agreement to allow us freedom.”
The couple’s imprisonment is just one year shorter than Bowe Bergdahl, whose five-year imprisonment by the Taliban-aligned Haqqani networkis the longest for an American since Vietnam. Coleman and Boyle were captured by the same insurgent group, whose tactics include kidnapping for ransom and extortion.
“A five-year hostage-taking is too long and indicates failure on every side,” Coleman said in the video. “Believe us, we have tried to explain the irony and sin to these men, but to no avail. We need you and the government to step up and do us a favor here and solve the problems.”
Several attempts have been made to release the family, The New York Times reports, but there were “repeated setbacks.”
Citing U.S. officials, The Times reported that a deal fell through when the American military killed the leader of the Afghan Taliban in a drone strike earlier this year.
This isn’t the first video released of the couple: Four months ago, the couple appeared in a video warning the United States that unless the Afghan government stopped killing Taliban prisoners, they would be killed.
The faction is believed to hold two at least two other Americans, one of whom is a university professor kidnapped in August. Though President Obama’s administration has tried to free them, Navy SEALs have failed in two separate missions along with another to free an Australian-born professor.
Coleman pleads to the exiting president: “Obama, your legacy on leaving office is probably important to you, and our lives and those of our children are to us. So please don’t become the next Jimmy Carter. Just give the offenders something so they and you can save face and we can leave the region permanently.”
And to President-elect Donald Trump, Coleman adds: “They want money, power, friends. You must give them these things before progress can be made. “