This October an American woman and her Canadian husband, who were held hostage by militants in Afghanistan for five years, have been freed along with their young children. The Trump administration and the Pakistani government worked together to free them, according President Trump, but a senior American official said Pakistan’s intelligence service arranged the handover of the family after being pressured by American officials.
“I can’t believe that happened to a family! That could have been anyone, we need more security because that poor family was held hostage for 5 years,” Sophomore Chloe Tener said.
Wednesday, the Taliban faction had seized Caitlan Coleman, 31, and her husband, Josh Boyle, 34, in 2012. The Pakistani military pledged to repatriate them while American intelligence agencies were tracking the hostages as they crossed into the rugged tribal areas of northwest Pakistan.
“Why would they force the family to stay then allow them to be released after 5 years? That’s pointless for that poor family,” Sophomore Ben Pankau said.
The pair was kidnapped in October 2012 while backpacking in Wardak Province, a militant stronghold near Kabul. At the time of her abduction, Caitlyn Coleman was pregnant, and later gave birth. She had two more children in captivity, adding even more pressure to resolve an already desperate situation.
“To be pregnant too? That woman is incredibly brave to go through all of that. It’s great to hear that the family was freed,” Sophomore Alicia Acquistapace said.
The end of the family’s captivity was a victory for the State Department officials and the F.B.I. runned Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell that had worked on the case for years. The group was created under the Obama administration to improve the government’s efforts to free hostages and to ensure their families received timely information about them.
“That was such a long process. It must have been such a great feeling for the F.B.I. to finally get the family back and know they’re home safely,” Senior Bryan Ray said.
Since the incident with Caitlan Coleman and her family, the C.I.A. director, Mike Pompeo, tried to open a backchannel to the Syrian government to help free Austin Tice, an American journalist and former Marine officer, who is being held in Syria. His whereabouts are unknown “I am glad we have people working hard to ensure our safety because our world is so dangerous,” Sophomore Addie Morris.
The Trump administration and the Pakistani government worked together to free them after several years had past. It was a long journey but in this case the destination, and the success of saving the family, is what’s important.