President Donald Trump was happily taking credit Thursday for securing the release of an American woman, her husband and their three young children after five years of being held hostage by the Taliban in Pakistan. Caitlan Coleman, her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle and their three children who were born after the couple was kidnapped in 2012, were released Wednesday.
While complete details of the release were not immediately available – did the Trump administration negotiate with terrorists? – the president’s supporters made sure to highlight the fact that former President Barack Obama could not mange to free Coleman and her family.
It was Obama who Coleman and her husband first appealed to for help on a video released about a week before Christmas last year. Coleman called their captivity a “Kafkaesque nightmare” and said she “can only ask and pray that somebody will recognize the atrocities these men carry out against us as so-called retaliation in their ingratitude and hypocrisy.”
The couple, which said they were kidnapped while hiking in Afghanistan, would later turn their attention to then-candidate Trump, who on Thursday called their release “a positive moment for our country’s relationship with Pakistan.”
Obama orchestrated the infamous 2014 Taliban hostage swap for the freedom of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was set to enter a plea next week for charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy that led to him being held for five years. In part because of that deal, Coleman asked for Obama to do the same for her.
Coleman and her family were being held by the Haqqani Network, a militant group that is an offshoot of the Taliban. Obama had previously worked to free at least two other Americans being held by the Haqqanis. That action was spurred in part by a shift in American policy for handing American citizens being held captive abroad.