AP Exclusive: Western couple held in Afghanistan

By The Associated Press  |  Posted Jun 4th, 2014 @ 2:21pm


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WASHINGTON (AP) — Family members of an American woman and her Canadian husband say they're disappointed that the couple and their child weren't released as part of the same deal that won freedom for U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl (boh BURG'-dahl).

Caitlan Coleman -- who was pregnant at the time -- disappeared in Afghanistan in late 2012 with her husband, Joshua Boyle. Family members received two videos last year in which the couple asked the U.S. government to help free them and their child from Taliban captors.

The families decided to make the videos public now, amid the publicity surrounding the weekend release of Bergdahl. He was freed from Taliban custody in exchange for the release of five high-level Taliban suspects at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

Relatives describe the couple as well-intentioned, but naive, adventure-seekers. During their travels in Afghanistan, they had checked in regularly -- and expressed an awareness of the dangers they faced. Boyle's last email came in October of 2012, from an Internet cafe in what he called an "unsafe" part of Afghanistan.

The videos received by family members last year were each under two minutes long. U.S. officials say the videos have some similarities to the ones the Taliban released about Bergdahl.

The State Department isn't publicly discussing specifics of the case, because of privacy considerations.

%@AP Links

212-a-16-(Patrick Boyle, father of missing Canadian Joshua Boyle, in AP interview)-"day of freedom"-Patrick Boyle, the father of missing Canadian Joshua Boyle, says the families are anxious to meet their grandchild, who was born in captivity to his son's wife, Caitlan Coleman. (4 Jun 2014)

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211-a-13-(Patrick Boyle, father of missing Canadian Joshua Boyle, in AP interview)-"get them back"-Patrick Boyle, the father of missing Canadian Joshua Boyle, says the families are desperate to find out how to free their kids. (4 Jun 2014)

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209-a-10-(Lyn Coleman, mother of missing American Caitlan Coleman, in AP interview)-"need them home"-Lyn Coleman, the mother of missing American Caitlan Coleman, says her daughter and her daughter's husband Joshua Boyle may have made a mistake by going to Afghanistan but should be allowed to return home. (4 Jun 2014)

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210-a-12-(Patrick and Linda Boyle, parents of missing Canadian Joshua Boyle, in AP interview)-"them back home"-Patrick and Linda Boyle, the parents of missing Canadian Joshua Boyle, beg for help in getting their son and his wife Caitlan Coleman home from Afghanistan. (4 Jun 2014)

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214-a-15-(Lyn Coleman, mother of missing American Caitlan Coleman, in AP interview)-"not a soldier"-Lyn Coleman, the mother of missing American Caitlan Coleman, says she hopes releasing the videos of Caitlan and her husband Joshua Boyle will encourage their captors to release them. (4 Jun 2014)

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195-c-25-(Sagar Meghani (SAH'-gur meh-GAH'-nee), AP national security correspondent)-"they were made"-AP National Security Correspondent Sagar Meghani reports American Caitlan Coleman and Canadian Joshua Boyle went missing in Afghanistan in late 2012. (4 Jun 2014)

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194-w-36-(Sagar Meghani (SAH'-gur meh-GAH'-nee), AP national security correspondent, with Caitlan Coleman, American being held in Afghanistan)--Two videos show a Western couple being held in Afghanistan. AP National Security Correspondent Sagar Meghani reports from the Pentagon. ((opens with actuality)) (4 Jun 2014)

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178-a-15-(Caitlan Coleman, Pennsylvania native who disappeared in Afghanistan with her Canadian husband Josh Boyle in late 2012, in video emailed to Coleman's father in 2013)-"bring us home"-In a video emailed to her father in 2013, Caitlan Coleman said she and her husband Josh Boyle wanted the U.S. government to try to win their release from captors in Afghanistan. (4 Jun 2014)

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177-a-12-(Josh Boyle, Canadian citizen who disappeared in Afghanistan with his American wife Caitlan Coleman in late 2012, in video emailed to Coleman's father in 2013)-"from our custody"-In a video emailed to Caitlan Coleman's father in 2013, Josh Boyle asked the Canadian government to try to win freedom for himself and Caitlan, his American wife. (4 Jun 2014)

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180-a-14-(Josh Boyle, Canadian citizen who disappeared in Afghanistan with his American wife Caitlan Coleman in late 2012, in video emailed to Coleman's father in 2013)-"up over here"-In a video emailed to his wife's father in 2013, Josh Boyle explained what drew him and his wife Caitlan Coleman to Afghanistan. (4 Jun 2014)

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179-a-10-(Caitlan Coleman, Pennsylvania native who disappeared in Afghanistan with her Canadian husband Josh Boyle in late 2012, in video emailed to Coleman's father in 2013)-"whatever way possible"-In a video emailed to her father in 2013, Caitlan Coleman made a direct appeal to the president for help. (4 Jun 2014)

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APPHOTO PAWG101: From left, Jim Coleman, Lyn Coleman, Linda Boyle and Patrick Boyle, parents a couple kidnapped by the Taliban in late 2012 pose for portrait in Stewartstown, Pa., Wednesday, June 4, 2014. Their children Joshua Boyle and Caitlan Coleman have reportedly given birth to their grandchild while in captivity. The family of a pregnant American woman who went missing in Afghanistan in late 2012 with her Canadian husband received two videos last year in which the couple asked the U.S. government to help free them and their child from Taliban captors, The Associated Press has learned. (AP Photo/Bill Gorman) (4 Jun 2014)

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APPHOTO WX205: This undated handout photo provided by the Coleman family shows Caitlan Coleman and Joshua Boyle. The family of a then-pregnant American woman who went missing in Afghanistan in late 2012 with her Canadian husband received two videos last year in which the couple asked the U.S. government to help free them from their Taliban captors, The Associated Press has learned. The videos offer the first and only clue about what happened to Caitlan Coleman and Joshua Boyle after they lost touch with their family 20 months ago while traveling in a mountainous region near the capital, Kabul. U.S. law enforcement officials investigating the couple's disappearance consider the videos authentic but caution that they hold limited investigative value, since it's not clear when or where they were filmed. (AP Photo/Coleman Family) (4 Jun 2014)

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APPHOTO WX202: This frame grab from video provided by the Coleman family shows Caitlan Coleman and Joshua Boyle. The family of a then-pregnant American woman who went missing in Afghanistan in late 2012 with her Canadian husband received two videos last year in which the couple asked the U.S. government to help free them from their Taliban captors, The Associated Press has learned. The videos offer the first and only clue about what happened to Caitlan Coleman and Joshua Boyle after they lost touch with their family 20 months ago while traveling in a mountainous region near the capital, Kabul. U.S. law enforcement officials investigating the couple's disappearance consider the videos authentic but caution that they hold limited investigative value, since it's not clear when or where they were filmed. (AP Photo/Coleman Family) (4 Jun 2014)

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