Breaking News Emails
Defense officials are weighing whether to use military options to rescue a Canadian-American couple and their two children seen in a Taliban propaganda video, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee said Wednesday.
U.S. Central Command could do so if the hostages are located and are able to be freed safely, Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., said on MSNBC.
He said another option could include a prisoner swap with captors the Haqqani network, a close affiliate of the Afghan Taliban, with the help of a country in the Persian Gulf.
"The ability to negotiate, the ability to assure they will go ahead and deliver on their part of the bargain, if there is a bargain, is a practical constraint," Reed said of any deal.
"But we all should be concerned," he said of the family's fate. "It's despicable what they've suffered."
The Haqqani network is the same group that held American soldier Bowe Bergdahl captive for five years until he was rescued as part of a prisoner exchange in 2014. The Qatari government helped to broker Bergdahl's release. He is currently awaiting a court-martial.
The Taliban's newly released video appears to show American Caitlan Coleman, her Canadian husband, Joshua Boyle, and their two young children. The couple was kidnapped while hiking in Afghanistan in late 2012 and both the children were born in captivity, The Associated Press reported.
They are believed to be held somewhere on the Pakistan-Afghan border.
"It is heart-rendering," Reed said of the situation. "And it also indicates how despicable the Taliban and the Haqqani network ... are."
In the video, Coleman is dressed in a black head wrap and appears to be reading from a script. She calls the family's captivity a "Kafkaesque nightmare in which we find ourselves" and asks that governments on both sides intervene to work toward their release. She says the video was taken Dec. 3.
NBC News cannot verify the circumstances under which the Taliban video was made and it is possible the couple was forced to say things from a script prepared by their captors.
On Monday, State Department spokesman John Kirby blasted the Taliban for holding the family, and said the Obama administration never stops working "through diplomatic channels to secure the release of Americans being held overseas."