The parents of a Canadian man held in Afghanistan with his American wife since 2012 say that a recent video showing two children born during their time in captivity is "simply heartbreaking."
The video showed for the first time the two sons of Canadian Joshua Boyle and Caitlan Coleman, a U.S. citizen. Coleman, 31, was pregnant when the couple were abducted in 2012 inside Afghanistan while on a backpacking trip.
The couple set off in the summer of 2012 from their home in Perth-Andover, N.B., for a journey that took them to Russia, the central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and then to Afghanistan.
In the latest video, Coleman reads from a script and begs for an end to their "Kafkaesque nightmare," referring to poor treatment at the hands of their captors, and criticizes both the American and Canadian governments.
Boyle's parents, Linda and Patrick Boyle, sent CBC News a statement Wednesday saying that they watched the Dec. 3 video after it was posted on Twitter earlier this week by the Taliban.
"It is an indescribable emotional sense one has watching a grandson making faces at the camera, while hearing our son's leg chains clanging up and down on the floor as he tries to settle his son," the Boyles' statement reads.
"It is simply heartbreaking to watch both boys so keenly observing their new surroundings in a makeshift film studio, while listening to their mother describe how they were made to watch her being defiled."
Two senior Taliban figures based in Afghanistan told Reuters by telephone earlier this week that the video had been uploaded by the radical Islamist insurgents, who are fighting to topple the U.S.-backed government in Kabul.
One said the video came from the Haqqani network — a close affiliate of the Afghan Taliban — and it had been delivered to both U.S. and Canadian officials before being posted on YouTube late on Monday night.
Coleman makes an unexplained reference to her two "surviving children" in the video. She also appealed to both President Barack Obama and president-elect Donald Trump to make a deal with their captors.
Hope for 'safe resolution'
In an earlier video released in August 2016, Boyle and Coleman warned that their captors would kill them and their children unless the Kabul government ended its executions of Taliban prisoners.
Boyle's parents, who live near Ottawa, noted that — unlike in earlier videos — the couple don't mention their families in the latest video. That omission, they say, confirms that the captors' demands are being directed toward the governments involved.
"This video confirms the captors want to bring this to an end soon. They prefer to reach an understanding during this brief period of the American presidential transition," write the Boyles.
"It also confirms the seriousness and immediacy of the captors' threats to our four family members. We are hopeful and we pray that all governments involved, including Afghanistan and the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, can bring this to a safe resolution soon."
Michael O'Shaughnessy, spokesman for the Canadian Department of Global Affairs, has said officials were studying the video and that the department was "deeply concerned" for the family's safety.