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Caitlan Coleman, Family Freed After Being Held by the Taliban for Five Years
Philly Magazine ^ | 10/12/17 | Holly Otterbein

Posted on 10/12/2017 4:40:04 PM PDT by markomalley

“I read this and started bawling. I’m so happy!”

“I’m crying. I’m in complete shock.”

“I cannot believe this.”

When news broke this morning that Pennsylvania native Caitlan Coleman and her family had been freed from a Taliban affiliate after being held captive for five long years, her friends could barely comprehend it. They called and texted each other in disbelief, in some cases barely bothering to say “Hi” before blurting out the incredible headlines. Some of them didn’t think this day would ever come. At moments, particularly when long periods of time had passed since Coleman’s captors released any video of her, they worried that she might be dead.

But their nightmare appears to finally be over. According to the Associated Press, Coleman, her husband, Joshua Boyle, and their three children, all of whom were born in captivity, have been released. Troops in Pakistan reportedly helped secure their freedom. “Its military said in a statement that U.S. intelligence agencies had been tracking the hostages and discovered they had come into Pakistan on October 11th through its tribal areas bordering Afghanistan,” the AP reported. “‘All hostages were recovered safe and sound and are being repatriated to the country of their origin,’ the military said.”

“Today, our Commonwealth and our country gives thanks that Caitlan Coleman, Josh Boyle and their children have been released from captivity,” said U.S. Sen. Bob Casey in a statement. “This day is also special for Jim and Lyn Coleman who have spent the last five years devoted to the mission of bringing their loved ones home. They have been living any parent’s nightmare, and today they can begin to heal and recover.”

Officials say Coleman and her husband were abducted by the Haqqani network in 2012 during a backpacking trip that had spanned from Kazakhstan to Tajikistan to Afghanistan. They believe the couple was kidnapped near Kabul, Afghanistan’s war-torn capital. Coleman was pregnant at the time, though none of her friends or family members knew that. They only learned afterward, when Coleman’s parents found a sonogram of their grandchild.

Caitlan Coleman (center) and her friends Lindsay McAdam (L) and Meghan Rogers (R) in 2008. | Photo courtesy of family and friends

Last year, when I reported on Coleman’s gut-wrenching story, I spoke with her longtime friend Meghan Rogers. Like many of Coleman’s loved ones, she told me that she was trapped in a place where she couldn’t mourn for Coleman, but also wasn’t quite sure how much hope she should have: “It’s like she’s dead, but she’s not at all dead. You can’t grieve for her. It almost feels like she’s in a stagnant place, but she’s not. She’s been living her life for the last four years. We just haven’t been a part of it.”

Today, Rogers is in shock. “I feel like I’m dreaming,” she says. “I don’t even know what to do. My hope is for Caity to come home. I know that, realistically, she will need to heal from this and that things will likely never be the same again. But I think home is a great first step.”

Lindsay McAdam, who is also old friends with Coleman, said in 2016 that she had stopped telling outsiders about her ordeal: “People don’t believe you. It happens in TV shows and movies all the time, but it doesn’t happen to you. It doesn’t happen to your friend.” Rogers still feels that way even now: “I’m trying not to tell anyone at work. I have photographic evidence that I know Caity — your story — but it still feels like an unbelievable story.”

Rogers says she called another longtime friend of Coleman’s, Julia Newberger-Johnson, when she heard the news: “[I] don’t even know if I said ‘Hi.’ I just said said they were freed.”

Newberger-Johnson, who has known Coleman since they met as teenagers at Catholic church, says she is ecstatic. “I don’t even know what to say. I am so unbelievably happy they are free and safe. I hope they are able to adjust back to normal life and that I am able to see them again soon.”

TOPICS: Government; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: talibancaptives; talibanhostages
Something strange about this story, so I looked into it a bit. From a Philly Mag story from last October:

Still, many think Caitlan would never have been in Afghanistan had it not been for her husband. On paper, Joshua doesn’t look all that different from many other millennials: He was an aspiring writer who had studied English at the University of Waterloo and worked service jobs to get by. But friends say he’s one of the smartest, most unusual people they ever met. He was fascinated by politics, Islam and the Middle East. Alex Edwards, a friend since 2002, says Joshua “spent hundreds, maybe even thousands of hours” writing Wikipedia articles on those subjects and others. Meghan, who studied Arabic in college, says he adored practicing the language with her.

Joshua was also charitable, Alex says: In an online game they played, “He was always the first one to figure new ways to exploit the rules for his own advantage, but he donated large quantities of in-game currency and assets to new players.” According to friends, he was also very persuasive, which may explain how he and Caitlan ended up in Afghanistan. “Given that they had traveled through much of Central Asia already … maybe they just decided, ‘Hell, why not?’’’ says Alex. “Josh had long been interested in Afghanistan … and it’s not like they were going to get another chance to visit.”

Another bizarre twist in this tale is that Joshua was so curious about Islam and the region that he once became intimately connected to a Muslim man who was imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay. The short version: As a young Mennonite who was passionately anti-war, Joshua became obsessed with Omar Khadr, a Canadian who had been captured at age 15 in Afghanistan and incarcerated without a trial for 10 years. Joshua eventually met the Khadr family and acted as their spokesman. Alex insists that Joshua advocated for Omar “just because he thought it was the right thing to do. … His first concern in life has always been helping others.” Later, Joshua married (and quickly divorced) Omar’s older sister, Zaynab.

All of this has made it more difficult to engender sympathy for Caitlan and Joshua. But U.S. officials say their kidnapping had nothing to do with Joshua’s ties to the Khadrs, which they called a “horrible coincidence.” Friends say Joshua got involved with the family in the first place because he was a dedicated pacifist and activist. “If things were different, and I was the one being held hostage, Josh wouldn’t rest until I was free,” says Alex. “He’d stage sit-ins. He’d put up posters. He’d dedicate his life to it. That’s just who he is.”

Also, per this Fox News story, the husband refuses to travel to the US and wants to fly a Canadian Air Force plane. "Why?" you might ask:

But Boyle is refusing to board an American military plane in Pakistan waiting to take them home, fearing he'll be arrested, a U.S. official said. Some officials say Roberts is fearful of perhaps being sent to Guantanamo Bay, based off his background. 

Boyle was previously married to the sister of Omar Khadr, a Canadian man who spent 10 years at Guantanamo Bay after being captured in 2002 in a firefight at an Al Qaeda compound in Afghanistan.

The Canadian-born Khadr was 15 in 2002 when he tossed a grenade in a firefight that killed U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer, a special forces medic.

Like I said, something isn't adding up in this story.

1 posted on 10/12/2017 4:40:04 PM PDT by markomalley
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To: markomalley

While I think there’s probably more to this, I think it’s pretty clear to see these were two weirded out Leftists who when it come a real life, couldn’t get out of their own way.

His fascination concerns me. Not sure what was really going on, but there does seem to be more than enough fertile ground to investigate what exactly was going on here.

2 posted on 10/12/2017 4:45:30 PM PDT by DoughtyOne (John McBane is the turd in the national punch-bowl.)
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To: DoughtyOne

and now the US citizens will pay for her offspring and she will be fat and happy.

3 posted on 10/12/2017 4:50:32 PM PDT by Dacula
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To: markomalley
Coleman and her husband were abducted by the Haqqani network in 2012 during a backpacking trip that had spanned from Kazakhstan to Tajikistan to Afghanistan.

That would be like taking a backpacking trip through Cambodia, Laos and South Vietnam in 1966.

4 posted on 10/12/2017 4:50:45 PM PDT by Fiji Hill
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To: DoughtyOne

I’m thinking maybe their children should be placed in foster homes while the parents are debriefed. One year might be long enough.

5 posted on 10/12/2017 4:51:35 PM PDT by BenLurkin (The above is not a statement of fact. It is either satire or opinion. Or both.)
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To: Dacula

Probably too true...

6 posted on 10/12/2017 4:53:02 PM PDT by DoughtyOne (John McBane is the turd in the national punch-bowl.)
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To: BenLurkin

What a strange situation.

People you would think were in trouble, are now coming home to what may wind up being the real inquisition.

You may be right, and perhaps for very good reason.

7 posted on 10/12/2017 4:54:11 PM PDT by DoughtyOne (John McBane is the turd in the national punch-bowl.)
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To: markomalley

Well, one thing you can be sure of is that the husband is an idiot.

It will be interesting to see if his wife takes the kids and runs home to her parents a few weeks/months after getting back.

Frankly, the US should fly the wife and kids home to the US without his dumb ass. Leave him there if he won’t get on the plane. If the wife won’t go, take the kids to their grandparents and let those to morons figure out their own way home.

8 posted on 10/12/2017 4:58:09 PM PDT by Valpal1 (I am grown weary.)
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To: markomalley

I agree with the Canadian; Josh should not be allowed into the U.S. He has been palling-around with some very dangerous people. Josh is the sort of person who would make a most useful idiot in the hands of the wrong people.
All the while, he considers himself as ‘just exploring stigmatized cultures for my next few books of research’.

9 posted on 10/12/2017 5:02:51 PM PDT by lee martell
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To: markomalley

It was reported on ABC news that her father was mystified as to why she would choose to move to Canada after all this country did to gain her release.

10 posted on 10/12/2017 5:05:37 PM PDT by FrdmLvr
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To: markomalley

How stupid do you have to be to go to Afghanistan when you are pregnant?

11 posted on 10/12/2017 6:14:21 PM PDT by Lurkinanloomin (Natural Born Citizen Means Born Here Of Citizen Parents - Know Islam, No Peace -No Islam, Know Peace)
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To: Lurkinanloomin

Very, very stupid...just look at photos of these morons. I hope the children are taken away from them and placed in a good home.

12 posted on 10/12/2017 7:12:39 PM PDT by miserare ( Hillary--you lost! Get over it!!)
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To: markomalley

fine - send a Canadian plane for them and let Canada intel follow him around for the rest of his life. He’s probably saving us $150K a year not coming here.

13 posted on 10/12/2017 9:13:55 PM PDT by blueplum ( "...this moment is your moment: it belongs to you... " President Donald J. Trump, Jan 20, 2017)
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