The Canadian government said Tuesday it’s aware of a video released by Afghan militants that depicts Canadian hostage Joshua Boyle and his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, who were kidnapped while travelling in Afghanistan four years ago.
In a statement to The Associated Press Tuesday, Global Affairs Canada spokesman Michael O’Shaughnessy said the government will not comment further or release any information that might risk endangering the safety of Canadian citizens abroad, he added.
Boyle and Coleman vanished a few days after arriving in Afghanistan while on a backpacking trip near the Pakistani border in 2012. Coleman, who was pregnant at the time, has given birth to two boys while in captivity, ABC News reported earlier this year, citing her parents.
In the video, Boyle says the couple’s captors “are terrified of the thought of their own mortality approaching, and are saying that they will take reprisals on our family.”
“They will execute us, women and children included, if the policies of the Afghan government are not overturned, either by the Afghan government or by Canada, somehow, or the United States.”
“I know that this must be very terrifying and horrifying for my family to hear that these men are willing to go to these lengths, but they are,” Coleman added.
The Daily Beast online news organization said on Tuesday it had obtained the new video, which depicted Coleman saying her captors were threatening to kill the family if Taliban prisoners were executed in Afghan jails. Coleman pleaded for U.S. intervention, the newspaper said.
The Daily Beast said the Haqqani network, a Taliban affiliate operating in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region, was holding the family captive and made the video and posted it online.
Kirby said the United States was “regularly engaged with the governments of both Afghanistan and Pakistan at the highest levels to emphasize our commitment to seeing our citizens return safely to their families.”
In 2014, the Boyle and Coleman families decided to make videos of the couple public in light of the publicity surrounding the weekend rescue of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was freed from Taliban custody in exchange for the release of five high-level Taliban suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The families said they were disappointed that their children and grandchild were not freed as part of the same deal but were still holding out hope for the U.S. and Canadian governments to secure their release on humanitarian grounds.
“Josh and Caity wanted nothing more than to raise a family at home with their loved ones. However, their captivity shattered their dream. During their captivity our grandchild was born,” the Boyle and Coleman families said in a joint statement in 2014. “Now Josh and Caity are forced to care for our grandchild while all remain captive. No parents deserve that kind of life. They deserve to be with their friends and family. To not be able to be a part of your child’s transition into parenthood, and our transition into doting grandparents, is gut-wrenching.
*With files from Global News