Caitlan Coleman, originally from York County, Pa., and her Canadian husband, Joshua Boyle, were abducted by a Taliban affiliated group while backpacking in Afghanistan in 2012. They and the three children she bore while in captivity were freed Wednesday after “the United States government, working in conjunction with the Government of Pakistan, secured the release” of the family, President Trump said in a statement Thursday.
Here’s what we know, and don’t know:
• The New York Times, quoting an unidentified senior American official, said Pakistan orchestrated the handover of the captives under pressure from the United States.
• Trump, in his statement said: “Today they are free. This is a positive moment for our country’s relationship with Pakistan. The Pakistani government’s cooperation is a sign that it is honoring America’s wishes for it to do more to provide security in the region. We hope to see this type of cooperation and teamwork in helping secure the release of remaining hostages and in our future joint counterterrorism operations.”
• In Pakistan, its military said in a statement that U.S. intelligence agencies had been tracking the hostages and discovered they had come into Pakistan on Oct. 11 through its tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.
• U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican, praised Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for securing the family’s release; Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat, acknowledged the efforts of the Trump administration but also gave credit to the Obama administration for its part in the “substantial amount of work” that went into freeing the family from captivity.
• The couple was last heard from the week before Christmas, when a video was released showing them and two of their children. In a statement read by Coleman, they appealed to then-President Obama and then President-elect Trump to secure her release.
• In the video, Coleman called their captivity a “Kafkaesque nightmare,” saying: “My children have seen their mother defiled.”
• The couple, who met online, had set out in July 2012 on a backpacking trip through Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan. How they ended up in Afghanistan remains a mystery.
• Coleman’s parents, who live in Stewartstown, Pa., last heard from their son-in-law on Oct. 8, 2012, from an internet cafe that Boyle said was in an “unsafe” part of Afghanistan. Coleman was pregnant at the time.
• The New York Times and other media have reported that the family was being held by the Haqqani network, a Taliban affiliate seeking the release of a commander who was being held by the Afghan government and had been sentenced to death.