State Dept. - US aware of Afghan hostage video, assessing it

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Couple Held Hostage By Taliban Seen For First Time in Three Years


WASHINGTON, Aug 30 (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department said on Tuesday that authorities were assessing the validity of a video released by Afghan militants that depicts U.S. hostage Caitlan Coleman and her Canadian husband, Joshua Boyle, who were seized four years ago.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said the United States was concerned about the welfare of the couple and their family and "continue to urge for their immediate release on humanitarian grounds."

Coleman and Boyle vanished a few days after arriving in Afghanistan while on a backpacking trip near the Pakistani border in 2012. Coleman, who was pregnant at the time, has given birth to two boys while in captivity, ABC News reported earlier this year, citing her parents.

See images of the hostages:

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Caitlan Coleman and Joshua Boyle, held by Taliban affiliate
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Caitlan Coleman and Joshua Boyle, held by Taliban affiliate
Motherâs Linda Boyle, left and Lyn Coleman hold photo of their married children, Joshua Boyle and Caitlan Coleman, who were kidnapped by the Taliban in late 2012, Wednesday, June 4, 2014, in Stewartstown, Pa. The family of a pregnant American woman who went missing in Afghanistan in late 2012 with her Canadian husband received two videos last year in which the couple asked the U.S. government to help free them and their child from Taliban captors, The Associated Press has learned. (AP Photo/Bill Gorman)
From left, Patrick Boyle, Linda Boyle, Lyn Coleman and Jim Coleman hold photo of their kidnapped children, Joshua Boyle and Caitlan Coleman, who were taken by the Taliban in late 2012, Wednesday, June 4, 2014, in Stewartstown, Pa. The family of a pregnant American woman who went missing in Afghanistan in late 2012 with her Canadian husband received two videos last year in which the couple asked the U.S. government to help free them and their child from Taliban captors, The Associated Press has learned. (AP Photo/Bill Gorman)
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The Daily Beast online news organization said on Tuesday it had obtained the new video, which depicted Coleman saying her captors were threatening to kill the family if Taliban prisoners were executed in Afghan jails. Coleman pleaded for U.S. intervention, the newspaper said.

The Daily Beast said the Haqqani network, a Taliban affiliate operating in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region, was holding the family captive and made the video and posted it online.

Kirby said the United States was "regularly engaged with the governments of both Afghanistan and Pakistan at the highest levels to emphasize our commitment to seeing our citizens return safely to their families."

(Reporting by David Alexander; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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