TIMELINE: Canadian Joshua Boyle’s struggle to be freed from captivity – National


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Canadian citizen Joshua Boyle, his American wife Caitlan Coleman, and their three young children have been freed after being held for five years by a group linked to the Taliban. All three of their children were born while the family was held captive.

READ MORE: Canadian man, family released after held by Taliban-linked group for 5 years

Their case and their family’s struggle to have them rescued has made headlines in Canada and around the world for years.

Here’s a timeline of the events that led to their capture, and what has happened since then.

WATCH MORE: Ottawa pressed to free Taliban hostage Joshua Boyle

Summer 2012: Boyle and his pregnant wife leave for 5-nation trip

With the couple expecting their first child to arrive in December, they set out on a journey across Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and Afghanistan in the summer of 2012.

Undated handout photo provided by the Coleman family shows Caitlan Coleman and Joshua Boyle.

Coleman Family handout/AP

READ MORE: Who is Joshua Boyle?

Oct. 8, 2012: Last communication with family before capture

Coleman’s parents last heard from their son-in-law on Oct. 8, 2012. Boyle described the area they were in as an “unsafe” part of Afghanistan. He was communicating with them from an internet cafe.

2013: Couple appear in video

The couple appeared in two videos asking the U.S. government to free them from Taliban-linked group the Haqqani network. The videos were made public in June 2014 by the Coleman family.

November 2015: Second child is born

Coleman’s parents were informed that the couple had a second child while in captivity. They received the news through a letter in November 2015, and made it public months later. It’s unclear when the third child was born.

READ MORE: Family pleads for mercy for U.S.-Canadian couple held in Afghanistan

WATCH: Trudeau says Canadian hostage Joshua Boyle still on government radar

August 2016: Couple says family may be killed

A video released in August last year showed the couple warning that their captors would kill the entire family unless the government in Kabul ended its execution of Taliban prisoners.

READ MORE: Joshua Boyle, Canadian held hostage in Afghanistan, pleads for help in new video

December 2016: Another video surfaces on YouTube

In a YouTube video, Coleman and Boyle begged governments to reach a decision on their case so they could be freed.

In this June 4, 2014, file photo, from left, Patrick Boyle, Linda Boyle, Lyn Coleman and Jim Coleman hold photo of their kidnapped children, Joshua Boyle and Caitlan Coleman, who were kidnapped by the Taliban in late 2012.

Bill Gorman/AP

READ MORE: Canada calls for release of Joshua Boyle, Canadian held in Afghanistan after new video appears

September 2017: Boyle’s aunt tells Global News Canada’s silence is deafening

After receiving very little information from the Canadian government, Kelli O’Brien started a social media campaign urging Canadian politicians to take action.

“I sent that to all the NDP hopefuls, the leader of the Conservative party, I sent it to our prime minister, just please say their names,” O’Brien said. “And I have not gotten a response from anybody.”

WATCH: Josh Boyle’s aunt describes him as ‘fierce defender of human rights’

Oct. 12, 2017: Pakistan’s military announces the family is freed

The Pakistani military says in a news release that the family has been released, and will be “repatriated” to their country.

The news is welcomed by both the Canadian and American governments.

WATCH: Trump thanks Pakistan for helping to free Canadian man, family

“We are greatly relieved that after being held hostage for five years, Joshua Boyle and his wife Caitlan Coleman, as well as their young children, have been released and are safe,” Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says in a news release.

“Canada has been actively engaged with the governments of the United States, Afghanistan and Pakistan and we thank them for their efforts, which have resulted in the release of Joshua, Caitlan and their children.”

U.S. President Donald Trump releases a similar statement, adding: “This is a positive moment for our country’s relationship with Pakistan. The Pakistani government’s co-operation is a sign that it is honouring America’s wishes for it to do more to provide security in the region.”

— With files from the Associated Press, the Canadian Press

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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