A 72-year-old American abducted in Pakistan by al-Qaida in August 2011 delivered a video message to President Obama Thursday, saying he feels “totally abandoned and forgotten” by his administration.
The video is the first time we’ve heard from Warren Weinstein since September 2012, when two other videos were released. When Weinstein was kidnapped, he was employed by the U.S.-based J.E. Austin Associates to help develop large Pakistani businesses, according to Politico.
In the video, which was delivered to The Associated Press and Pakistani journalists, Weinstein asks that the United States begin negotiating for his release.
“Nine years ago, I came to Pakistan to help my government, and I did so at a time when most Americans would not come here, and now when I need my government, it seems that I have been totally abandoned and forgotten,” Weinstein said in the 13-minute video. “And so I again appeal to you to instruct your appropriate officials to negotiate my release.”
The video and an accompanying letter purported to be from Weinstein was emailed anonymously to reporters in Pakistan. The video was labelled “As-Sahab,” which is al-Qaida’s media wing, but its authenticity could not be independently verified. The letter was dated Oct. 3, 2013 and in the video Weinstein said he had been in captivity for two years.
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Al-Qaida has said Weinstein would be released if the U.S. halted airstrikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen and also demanded the release of all al-Qaida and Taliban suspects around the world.
The White House has called for Weinstein’s immediate release but has said it won’t negotiate with al-Qaida.
Weinstein is one of several Americans hostage in foreign countries, including Iran and North Korea.
Watch the video below.
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