Oct 12, 2017

American woman freed by Taliban after 5 years

Caitlan Coleman, left, with her family while in captivity. Photo: Screengrab from YouTube.

Pakistani soldiers freed an American woman and her family of five Thursday who had been held hostage by the Taliban-linked Haqqani network for five years, per the New York Times. The family was in Pakistan early Thursday, and the White House released a statement thanking the Pakistani government for its cooperation once they were safely back in American custody.

The hostages: Caitlan Coleman, originally from Pennsylvania, and her Canadian husband, Josh Boyle, were kidnapped while backpacking in the Wardak Province of Afghanistan, a militant stronghold near Kabul. Coleman was pregnant at the time of their abduction, and she had two more children while in captivity.

White House statement: "This is a positive moment for our country's relationship with Pakistan. The Pakistani government's cooperation is a sign that it is honoring America's wishes for it to do more to provide security in the region. We hope to see this type of cooperation and teamwork in helping secure the release of remaining hostages and in our future joint counterterrorism operations."


  • The family had been held by the Haqqani network, which also held Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five years. They were freed with the help of another country, per NYT, but it "was not clear what if any concessions were made" to the militant group.
  • In Dec. 2016, the Taliban faction released a video of the family, where Coleman explained that she had been "defiled" and worried they would "retaliate against our family." She then pleaded that the American government "help stop this depravity."
  • Other victims: The Haqqanis are believed to still be in possession of Kevin King, American university professor who was kidnapped in August 2016, per NYT. Earlier this year, the group released video of King, who pleaded for President Trump to free him. Another American, Paul Overby, disappeared in May 2014 and hasn't been seen since. He was trying to interview the head of the Haqqani network when he was kidnapped.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 665,164 — Total deaths: 30,852 — Total recoveries: 140,225.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 124,665 — Total deaths: 2,191 — Total recoveries: 1,095.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump announces new travel advisories for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, but rules out quarantine enforcement. Per the CDC, residents of those states must now "refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days," with the exception of critical infrastructure industry workers.
  4. State updates: Alaska is latest state to issue a stay-at-home order — New York is trying to nearly triple its hospital capacity in less than a month and has moved its presidential primary to June 23. Some Midwestern swing voters who backed Trump's handling of the virus less than two weeks ago are balking at his call for the U.S. to be "opened up" by Easter.
  5. World updates: In Spain, over 1,400 people were confirmed dead between Thursday to Saturday.
  6. 🚀 Space updates: OneWeb filed for bankruptcy amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  7. Hollywood: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have returned to U.S. after being treated for coronavirus.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Coronavirus updates: Global death toll tops 30,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 30,000 people around the world — with Italy reporting over 10,000 deaths, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: The number of deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. surpassed 2,000 on Saturday. The United States leads the world in confirmed coronavirus infections — more than 124,000 by early Sunday. The number of those recovered from the virus in the U.S. passed the 1,000-mark on Saturday evening.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 4 mins ago - Health

Gilead expands access to experimental coronavirus drug in emergency cases

Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Gilead Sciences CEO Daniel O’Day said in an open letter Saturday the company is expanding access to its experimental anti-coronavirus drug remdesivir to include severely ill COVID-19 patients.

The big pig picture: President Trump has called the antiviral drug "promising," but the results of six clinical trials on this investigational medicine are still being conducted, so its effectiveness in COVID-19 the treatment has yet to be proved. The World Health Organization is involved in the tests.

Go deeperArrow27 mins ago - Health