A new video from the Taliban features Canadian Joshua Boyle and his American wife Caitlan Coleman, who were kidnapped while hiking through Afghanistan in 2012.
The video also includes two young boys who are apparently their children, born during their captivity. Coleman was seven months pregnant at the time of her capture.
“We understand both sides hate us and are content to leave us and our two surviving children in these problems,” Coleman says in the video, as reported by Reuters. “But we can only ask and pray that somebody will recognize the atrocities these men carry out against us as so-called retaliation in their ingratitude and hypocrisy.”
“My children have seen their mother defiled,” she added ominously, as the children sat in Boyle’s lap. Also ominous: she referred to the boys as her “surviving children.”
“They want money, power, friends. You must give them these things before progress can be made,” she said of her captors in the Haqqani Network, a notorious hostage-taking criminal gang allied with the Taliban. Reuters explains that the “friends” she referred to are three senior Haqqani members held by the Afghan government.
The UK Daily Mail adds that Boyle said his captors are “frightened by the idea of further execution” of Taliban and Haqqani prisoners by the government in Kabul.
“Because of their fear they are willing to kill us, willing to kill women, to kill children, to kill whomever, in order to get these policies reversed or take revenge,” Boyle said in the video.
The New York Times quotes Coleman appealing directly to President Obama for help before he leaves office: “Please don’t become the next Jimmy Carter. Just give the offenders something so they and you can save face, so we can leave the region permanently.”
Taliban officials confirmed the authenticity of the video, which they said was recorded several months ago. (Coleman specifically states it is December 3rd at the beginning of the tape, but that might not be accurate.)
It was delivered to U.S. and Canadian authorities, as well as uploaded to YouTube for public display on Monday night after one of the Haqqani prisoners was sentenced to death.