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Parents Urge Afghan Taliban To Release Couple Held For Four Years

The parents of an American woman who disappeared in Afghanistan four years ago while pregnant and backpacking with her husband are appealing to the Taliban to release the couple and their two young children.

James and Lyn Coleman believe the insurgent group is holding their daughter, Caitlan, her Canadian-born husband Joshua Boyle, and two sons, to whom she gave birth in captivity.

"We desperately want to be with and hold our daughter and grandsons," said Coleman, sitting next to his veiled wife in a video released on July 1.

Coleman addressed the new leader of the Afghan Taliban, Haibatullah Akhundzada, asking him "to show mercy" and release the family as Eid al-Fitr approaches, a festival that is traditionally a time of mercy and marks the end of the Ramadan fast.

The Colemans last saw their daughter in July 2012, when she set off for Russia on a hiking trip with Boyle that took them through Central Asia and ultimately into war-torn Afghanistan.

The Pennsylvanian couple said they got a letter from Caitlan in November proving that she and Joshua were still alive, and announcing that she had given birth to a second son.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP