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It Always Pays To Do Good To Strangers No Matter What

Family held captive by Taliban-linked group released

  • Caitlan Coleman, 31, and her husband Joshua Boyle, 34, were released on Wednesday 
  • The couple were abducted in Afghanistan in 2012 when she was pregnant with their first child
  • The pair were taken by the Haqqani network and have been held in Pakistan ever since 
  • On Wednesday, the Pakistani government facilitated their release in a joint effort with US officials
  • Trump and his officials have in the past accused Pakistan of fostering terror networks for too long 
  • He said the family's release proved the country's renewed respect for the US  

By Jennifer Smith For Dailymail.com

Published: 08:24 EDT, 12 October 2017 | Updated: 12:24 EDT, 12 October 2017

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An American woman, her Canadian husband and the three children they had in captivity have been released after spending five years as hostages of a Taliban-linked terrorist network.

Caitlan Coleman, 31, was given back to US commandos along with her husband Joshua Boyle, 34, and their three young children in a secretive exchange that was facilitated by Pakistani officials late on Wednesday night. 

The woman and her husband were abducted in October 2012 by the Haqqani network as they traveled through Afghanistan, a country they traveled to without telling their families.

Friends say Boyle, who was previously married to terror suspect Omar Khadr's sister, was 'passionate' about the country.  

On Thursday, President Trump revealed that the pair have been held in Pakistan ever since and that it was the country's government which helped secure their release after years of failed attempts by the Obama administration.

Caitlan, who grew up in Pennsylvania, was pregnant with their oldest son when she was captured. She has since welcomed another little boy and a girl who was born a few months ago. 

In hostage videos filmed in 2016, she alluded to other children she had given birth to or carried but who did not survive.   

Scroll down for videos 

Caitlan Coleman and her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle were released along with three of the children they welcomed in captivity on Wednesday night. They are seen in a video filmed in 2016 with two of their children 
Caitlan Coleman and her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle were released along with three of the children they welcomed in captivity on Wednesday night. They are seen in a video filmed in 2016 with two of their children 

Caitlan Coleman and her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle were released along with three of the children they welcomed in captivity on Wednesday night. They are seen in a video filmed in 2016 with two of their children 

The couple (shown above before they were captured) were traveling in Afghanistan when they were taken 
The couple (shown above before they were captured) were traveling in Afghanistan when they were taken 

The couple (shown above before they were captured) were traveling in Afghanistan when they were taken 

The couple were last seen in a video that was sent to their families in December last year. 

They appeared with two of their young children in the disturbing footage in which she described being 'defiled' in front of the toddlers.

TRUMP CONFIRMS FAMILY'S RELEASE 

In 2012, Caitlan Coleman, an American citizen, and her husband, Joshua Boyle, were taken captive and held hostage by the Haqqani network, a terrorist organization with ties to the Taliban. 

Ms. Coleman gave birth to the couple's three children while they were in captivity.

Yesterday, the US Government working in conjunction with the Government of Pakistan, secured the release of the Boyle-Coleman family from captivity in Pakistan. 

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. 

No ransom had ever been requested by their captors. Instead, the terrorists wanted US and Canadian officials to secure the release of Afghan prisoners in Kabul. 

In the 2016 footage, Caitlan was dressed in a headscarf sitting next to her husband and their children who were seen for the first time. 

The youngest boy, who was believed to have been born last September, had a pacifier in his mouth.

They have since welcomed a baby girl. 

In previous videos, Caitlan referred to other children who she has had to mourn and suggested that she was raped by her captors. 

Details of exactly where the exchange took place or the circumstances which prompted it have not been released. 

Joshua's father however confirmed on Thursday that he spoke with the pair early in the morning. 

During the conversation, his son confirmed the recent birth of their little girl. 

'Josh said he was doing pretty well for someone who has spent the last five years in an underground prison,' Patrick Boyle told The Toronto Star.  

In as statement on Thursday, President Trump commended Pakistani officials for facilitating the exchange and said it was symbolic of the country's renewed relationship with the US.

COUPLE' S CHILDREN BORN IN CAPTIVITY 

Boy, four: Caitlan was five months pregnant with the couple's first child when she was captured in October 2012

Boy, two: Their second son who was delivered by his father who clenched a flashlight in his mouth. They kept the pregnancy a secret from captors 

Girl, a few months: On Thursday, after their release, Joshua told his parents they welcomed a daughter earlier this year

Stillborn or miscarried: In a December 2016 video, Caitlan, sitting next to her two sons, described them as her couple's 'surviving children'. 

It suggests she was either pregnant with or gave birth to other children who she either miscarried or who did not survive after their birth. 

'Yesterday, the US Government working in conjunction with the Government of Pakistan, secured the release of the Boyle-Coleman family from captivity in Pakistan

'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,' he said.

Trump had criticized the country in the past for not doing enough to crack down on the Haqqanis. His administration has cranked up the pressure on the Pakistani government to do more in the global fight against terror. 

On Wednesday, before the family's release was confirmed, the president alluded to it during a speech in Coleman's home state.

A second video showed the pair in January this year. Caitlan is cradling their two-year-old son and the four-year-old boy sits on Joshua's lap
A second video showed the pair in January this year. Caitlan is cradling their two-year-old son and the four-year-old boy sits on Joshua's lap

A second video showed the pair in January this year. Caitlan is cradling their two-year-old son and the four-year-old boy sits on Joshua's lap

2013: In one of their first videos in captivity, the pair look forlorn as they address the camera. Joshua was drastically thinner than he had been when they were captured and he had a long, unkempt beard 
2013: In one of their first videos in captivity, the pair look forlorn as they address the camera. Joshua was drastically thinner than he had been when they were captured and he had a long, unkempt beard 

2013: In one of their first videos in captivity, the pair look forlorn as they address the camera. Joshua was drastically thinner than he had been when they were captured and he had a long, unkempt beard 

2013: Joshua has been allowed to trim his beard and appears to have put on weight while Caitlan remains gaunt
2013: Joshua has been allowed to trim his beard and appears to have put on weight while Caitlan remains gaunt

2013: Joshua has been allowed to trim his beard and appears to have put on weight while Caitlan remains gaunt

By 2016, Caitlan had been pregnant with at least three children, one of whom has since died. Joshua had been allowed to wear western clothes and was more closely shaven
By 2016, Caitlan had been pregnant with at least three children, one of whom has since died. Joshua had been allowed to wear western clothes and was more closely shaven

By 2016, Caitlan had been pregnant with  at least three children, one of whom has since died. Joshua had been allowed to wear western clothes and was more closely shaven

KIDNAPPED COUPLE DELIVERED THEIR CHILDREN BY FLASHLIGHT AND PRETENDED THEY WERE IN A GAME TO SHIELD THEM FROM HORROR OF CAPTIVITY

The couple are seen before their release
The couple are seen before their release

The couple are seen before their release

In letters to his family sent during their years of captivity, Joshua Boyle told in heartbreaking detail how he and his wife tried to shield their children from the horrors of their reality by pretending it was all a game.

In September 2015, he delivered their second son by flashlight and had to plead with their captors to bring food to keep the infant alive.

They had kept the pregnancy a secret.  

In a desperate bid to protect their young children from understanding that they were captive, they pretended it was all a game.

He took inspiration from the film Beautiful Life which tells the story of a Jewish family in a Nazi concentration camp and its father who tries to shield the kids from understanding their surroundings. 

'We are trying to keep spirits high for the children and play Beautiful Life,' Boyle wrote in one letter to his family that they shares with The Toronto Star.

In September 2016, he described the birth of their second son.  'Ta-da! The astonished captors were good and brought all our post-partum needs, so he is now fat and healthy, praise God,' he said. 

The couple welcomed a daughter earlier this year. She and their two sons were released with them on Thursday.  

In their replies, Boyle's parents commended their parenting techniques. 

'You and Cait sound like amazing parents, holding up each other and your boys, and protecting them from their horrible reality. I could only hope I would be able to do that in similar circumstances,' one read. 

In one video, Caitlan compared herself to Disney characters.

'My time in—married, and my time as a mother, and my time in prison that I’ve become more of a Belle than an Ariel,' she said. 

Her father Jim told ABC News earlier this week: 'She is telling me, "Dad, I wish had listened to you more and not been Ariel and more a Belle. It's a lot of humility and self-analysis of why she is in this situation.' 

Joshua and Caitlan married in 2011. They had been friends for years after striking up a relationship as teenagers online where they bonded over their mutual love of Star Wars.  

'Something happened today, where a country that totally disrespected us called with some very, very important news. 

'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,' he said cryptically. 

In 2014, Coleman pleaded with President Barack Obama to bring her and her husband home. At the time, she made reference to their one child. 

'I am prisoner of the Taliban. I would ask that my family and my government do everything that they can to bring my husband, child and I to safety and freedom,' she said. 

The pair addressed Trump who, at the time, had recently won the presidential election and was preparing for his inauguration. 

'Donald Trump, the legacy of a millenia of demon worship in this country, is that those who speak high and noble of Islamic ideals are not simply going to release our family easily because it is correct. 

'They want money, power, friends. You must give them these things before progress can be made,' she said.   

When they were abducted, the couple's relatives said they were innocent but naive adventure seekers. They had been married for a year when went to Afghanistan 
When they were abducted, the couple's relatives said they were innocent but naive adventure seekers. They had been married for a year when went to Afghanistan 

When they were abducted, the couple's relatives said they were innocent but naive adventure seekers. They had been married for a year when went to Afghanistan 

Caitlan, who grew up in Stewartstown, Pennsylvania, was allowed to write letters to her family during her captivity. She told them how she had changed in prison and as a mother
Caitlan, who grew up in Stewartstown, Pennsylvania, was allowed to write letters to her family during her captivity. She told them how she had changed in prison and as a mother

Caitlan, who grew up in Stewartstown, Pennsylvania, was allowed to write letters to her family during her captivity. She told them how she had changed in prison and as a mother

In the first videos, Joshua appeared gaunt and drastically thinner than he had been when the pair were taken. He also appeared to have grown a long, unkempt beard. 

In 2014,  the couple's families were given false hope that they would be released. 

On Wednesday night, President Trump alluded to the family's release during a speech in Coleman's home state of Pennsylvania (above) 
On Wednesday night, President Trump alluded to the family's release during a speech in Coleman's home state of Pennsylvania (above) 

On Wednesday night, President Trump alluded to the family's release during a speech in Coleman's home state of Pennsylvania (above) 

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had just been released after five years in captivity with the same network. Coleman's family hoped at the time that Caitlan and Joshua would be released as part of the same deal but they were not. 

As part of his release, Obama allowed five Guantanamo Bay detainees to be released to Qatar. 

They were all connected to the Haqqani network. After his release and return to the US, Bergdahl was charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. 

Army officials say he abandoned his post before he was taken hostage and that the decision exposed others to threat.  

He had denied the charges until Thursday when suddenly, as news of Coleman and Boyle's release spread, it emerged he was considering a plea deal in his military court case.  

Trump has not indicated what concessions he made - if any - to facilitate Coleman and Boyle's release. 

During his election campaign, he referred to Bergdahl repeatedly as a 'traitor'. Bergdahl's lawyers said his comments prevented him from getting a fair trial.  

Bowe Bergdahl was released by the same terror group in 2014 after five years of captivity. He had been taken hostage by the Haqqani network after allegedly deserting his post in Afghanistan. He was charged with desertion upon his return to the US and, on Thursday, scheduled a court hearing to enter a plea - a move which coincided with Coleman and Boyle's release 
Bowe Bergdahl was released by the same terror group in 2014 after five years of captivity. He had been taken hostage by the Haqqani network after allegedly deserting his post in Afghanistan. He was charged with desertion upon his return to the US and, on Thursday, scheduled a court hearing to enter a plea - a move which coincided with Coleman and Boyle's release 

Bowe Bergdahl was released by the same terror group in 2014 after five years of captivity. He had been taken hostage by the Haqqani network after allegedly deserting his post in Afghanistan. He was charged with desertion upon his return to the US and, on Thursday, scheduled a court hearing to enter a plea - a move which coincided with Coleman and Boyle's release 

During their captivity, Coleman and Boyle's desperate families made pleading videos which they hoped would encourage their release. In one, Boyle's mother appeared wearing a headscarf in an effort to win over their captors.

They have spoken in other interviews about receiving letters from the pair in which they proudly described their two young sons. 

In a piece for The Toronto Star published in June, Joshua's sister wrote: 'In one of his letters Josh talks about how he and Caity are educating the boys “as best as the dire circumstances allow.” 

'He goes on to brag about how Primus (who is roughly 4 years old) knows his times tables up to five times five, the taxonomic ranks (species, kingdom, genus, etc.) and even some Latin.' 

Primus and Secondus, she said, were the names she and her other siblings had given their nameless nephews. 

The couple's families previously described them as 'naive adventure seekeers' who were avid travelers. 

In this 2014 photograph, Caitlan's parents Lyn and Jim (right) appear with Patrick and Linda Boyle (left) holding a photograph of the couple 
In this 2014 photograph, Caitlan's parents Lyn and Jim (right) appear with Patrick and Linda Boyle (left) holding a photograph of the couple 

In this 2014 photograph, Caitlan's parents Lyn and Jim (right) appear with Patrick and Linda Boyle (left) holding a photograph of the couple 

When they were taken from Afghanistan in 2012, they had already completed ambitious and potentially dangerous trips in Central America. 

Their plan in 2012 was originally to hike through Russia and Central Asia before settling back in New Brunswick to raise their family. 

Instead, they hiked through Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan then went to Afghanistan. 

After sending an email to his family from an internet cafe in Kabul on October 8, Boyle and his wife vanished. 

One friend in the region said he had tried to convince him to join them in Kabul before they vanished. 

Richard Cronin said he'd met the pair in Kyrgyzstan where he said Josh tried to convince him to join them. 

'I hadn’t thought seriously about travelling to Afghanistan until I started talking to Josh at Nomad’s Home Hostel in Bishkek. He was planning to travel there with his wife Caitlan very shortly. 

'Over the course of a conversation that ran long into the night he planted in my head a strong desire to go,' Cronin said in a blog post in November 2012. 

Cronin recalled how Joshua said he was inspired by 'Lawrence of Arabia' and Richard Burton and asked him: 'Wouldn’t you like to be like one of them?'

He then also said that the window of opportunity for visiting the country was narrowing and that it was most safe in 2012 because of the large presence of US troops there. 

Cronin went to Afghanistan with another friend and learned of Caitlan and Joshua's kidnap when he was there. He left afterwards, he said. 

TERROR LINKS OF CAPTIVE COUPLE: Joshua Boyle's previous marriage to 'Canada's first family of terrorism'

Caitlan Coleman isn't Joshua Boyle's first wife, in fact, the Canadian son of a judge was previously married to a woman with terror links

Boyle was previously married to Zaynab Khadr - the sister of Canadian Omar Khadr who was held at Guantanamo Bay for war crimes

He was one of the youngest held at the camp after being captured aged just 15

The teen was accused of killing American soldier Sgt Christopher Speer with a hand grenade in Afghanistan in 2002 and planting mines to target US vehicles

In 2010, he pleaded guilty to war crimes and murder in a plea deal which resulted in an eight year sentence

He is serving the remainder of his sentence in a medium security facility in Alberta after being transferred in 2012

Boyle was previously married to Zaynab Khadr - the sister of Canadian Omar Khadr who was held at Guantanamo Bay for war crimes
Boyle was previously married to Zaynab Khadr - the sister of Canadian Omar Khadr who was held at Guantanamo Bay for war crimes
Boyle was previously married to Zaynab Khadr - the sister of Canadian Omar Khadr who was held at Guantanamo Bay for war crimes
Boyle was previously married to Zaynab Khadr - the sister of Canadian Omar Khadr who was held at Guantanamo Bay for war crimes

Boyle was previously married to Zaynab Khadr - the sister of Canadian Omar Khadr who was held at Guantanamo Bay for war crimes

His legal appeals continue. 

His eldest sister Zaynab was an outspoken campaigner for her brother's release and Joshua Boyle worked as the family spokesman

According to Canadian reports their father, Ahmed, was a close friend of Osama bin Laden

He died in a fire-fight with Pakistan forces on the Afghan border

It is alleged that bin Laden attended Zaynab's first marriage in Afghanistan before she divorced and met Boyle

In light of these links, a Conservative politician dubbed them 'Canada's first family of terrorism' and called for their deportation

Boyle and Khadr were married just a year before they split. A year later Boyle married Coleman

A US official told the Associated Press that it was a 'horrible coincidence' and said the disappearance of Boyle and Coleman had no link to his previous wife

Joshua Boyle's father Patrick is a tax lawyer who was appointed to the Federal Court of Canada in 2007 - he is married to Joshua's mother Linda. They are active in the Catholic church in Ottawa, according to The Star

Joshua studied English at the University of Windsor and journalism at Niagara College 

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