The Canadian government has called for the release of a couple who have been held in captivity in northern for four years, after their captors released a video of the pair.
The video, uploaded to YouTube on Monday, shows Canadian Joshua Boyle and American Caitlan Coleman and their two children, who were born in captivity, pleading with their governments to negotiate with their captors.
Coleman described “the Kafkaesque nightmare in which we find ourselves” after being held in captivity since 2012, when they were kidnapped while backpacking in northern Afghanistan.
, a terrorist group aligned with the Taliban, which has fought the Nato mission in Afghanistan and held the US soldierfor five years.
Coleman called on Barack Obama and incoming president Donald Trump to work on securing their freedom.
“We have waited since 2012 for somebody to understand our problems,” she said, appearing to read from a script, while her husband sat next to her with their children rested on his lap. “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.”
The video marks the first release from the couple since a video they put out in August, in which they warned their captors would kill them unless the Afghan government ended its execution of Taliban prisoners in Kabul.
Michael O’Shaughnessy, spokesman for the Canadian Department of Global Affairs, told the Guardian that the Canadian government is aware of the new video.
“We are deeply concerned for the safety and wellbeing of Joshua Boyle, Caitlan Coleman and their young children and call for their unconditional release,” he said in a statement.
The US state department did not respond to a request for comment.
The couple were first abducted in 2012, while on a backpacking trip which started in Russia and took them through Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and then to Afghanistan. Coleman, who is from York County, Pennsylvania, was 28 years old at the time and pregnant with their first child. Both their children have been born in captivity.
Should governments pay ransoms? For families of hostages, it’s complicated
In the video the couple refer to their two sons as their “surviving children” without explanation, indicating Coleman potentially miscarried.
Jim and Lyn Coleman, Caitlan’s parents, received a letter from their daughter in November last year in which she notified them of the birth of her second child. The Colemans issued a plea on in July to top Taliban leaders to let their daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren go as an end-of-Ramadan show of mercy.
Reuters the validity of the video with two senior Taliban figures based in Afghanistan. One of the officials said the Haqqani network delivered the video to Canadian and US officials before posting it online late on Monday night. He added that they were demanding the release of three senior members including the brother and maternal uncle of Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is deputy leader of the Afghan Taliban.
The video was picked up by the Site Intelligence Group, which monitors extremist groups. Coleman began the video by saying it was recorded on 3 December but this has yet to be verified.