Caitlin Coleman and her Canadian husband were captured by the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network in October of 2012. The two were hiking in the mountains of Afghanistan, and Coleman was seven months pregnant at the time. After those years of captivity, the hostages are finally being released and are coming home.
The group had had the couple send videos back to the American government demanding their release, the most recent one in December 2016. In that video, the couple pleaded with out-going President Obama to negotiate their release.
“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.”
While they were not released before Barack Obama’s departure from the White House, the Trump administration has indicated that the family has been freed from their captors and will be coming home, Fox News is reporting.
During a speech in Coleman’s home state of Pennsylvania, the President hinted at their release.
“Something happened today, where a country that totally disrespected us called with some very, very important news,” Trump said. “And one of my generals came in. They said, ‘You know, I have to tell you, a year ago they would’ve never done that.’ It was a great sign of respect. You’ll probably be hearing about it over the next few days. But this is a country that did not respect us. This is a country that respects us now. The world is starting to respect us again, believe me.”
On Thursday, the White House officially announced their release.
The announcement of the release comes a month after President Trump announced a new strategy to deal with Afghanistan and Pakistan, saying the Taliban and other militant groups would no longer find safe haven in Pakistan.
Defense Secretary James Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford told Congress last week Pakistan would no longer be a sanctuary for terrorism.
It is not clear how much Pakistan may have aided in the rescue efforts for Coleman and her family.
In the video where Coleman pleads with the government for help in being freed, she referred to the situation as a “Kafkaesque nightmare in which we find ourselves.” She further stated that, tragically, “My children have seen their mother defiled.”
Somehow, whether it was by a new strategy or by a show of force the family will be released out of their nearly 5 years of captivity. Being captured anywhere overseas is a horrifying idea, but even worse the idea of being hostages to Islamic terrorists.
The Haqqani network is responsible for a swath of brutal attacks across Afghanistan in recent years, both against civilians and the U.S. military. However, the group’s motivations are not as religious as the Taliban’s, but are more monetary.
According to the National Counterterrorism Center, the group is responsible for some of the most high-profile attacks of the entire war in Afghanistan.
The Haqqani Network is primarily based in North Waziristan, Pakistan, and conducts cross-border operations into eastern Afghanistan and Kabul. The group is primarily composed of members of the Zadran tribe. The Haqqanis are considered the most lethal and sophisticated insurgent group targeting US, Coalition, and Afghan forces in Afghanistan; they typically conduct coordinated small-arms assaults coupled with rocket attacks, IEDs, suicide attacks, and attacks using bomb-laden vehicles.