Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


Kidnapped US aid contractor reportedly held by militants in Pakistan

Some five months after Warren Weinstein was kidnapped, the US aid contractor is reported to be in the custody of a Pakistani Al Qaeda affiliate, McClatchy Newspapers reports.

By Tom HussainMcClatchy Newspapers / January 25, 2012



A kidnapped American aid contractor is alive and in good health, being held by a Pakistani Al Qaeda affiliate that's likely to use him as a bargaining chip, according to militants, security officials, and analysts.

Skip to next paragraph

Warren Weinstein, who was kidnapped in August from his home in Lahore, Pakistan, is in the custody of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi militants in North Waziristan, a ranking Pakistani militant told McClatchy. The militant said he'd seen Mr. Weinstein last month and at that point "his health was fine."

"He is being provided all available medical treatment, including regular checkups by a doctor and the medicines prescribed for him before he was plucked," the militant, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, said last week in an interview.

Little has been revealed publicly about Weinstein's status since December, when Ayman al Zawahiri, the head of Al Qaeda, said in a video that the terrorist network was holding him.

Weinstein, who's from Rockville, Md., spent several years as the Pakistan country manager for J.E. Austin Associates, a contractor for the US Agency for International Development. Reportedly in ill health, he'd packed his bags and was within hours of leaving Pakistan for good on Aug. 13 when militants kidnapped him from his home in the affluent suburb of Model Town.

Mohammed Imran, a security analyst in Islamabad who maintains contact with Pakistani militant groups, said he'd received messages from militants indicating that Weinstein's captors had no plans to harm him, and that he was being provided with medical care.

"Al Qaeda won't kill Weinstein. It will keep him as healthy as is possible in the circumstances, and use him as a bargaining chip in negotiations with the Pakistani authorities," he said.

Militants and security analysts said Weinstein might be traded for Al Qaeda members who were in Pakistani custody, or used as a human shield to prevent security forces from striking its camps in North Waziristan.

Could take years?

They said retired Pakistani militant commanders were acting as interlocutors to negotiate Weinstein's release, but they predicted a drawn-out process that could take years.

US officials said they had no information about Weinstein's status or condition. The American government, including the FBI, is assisting in a Pakistani investigation into the kidnapping, a US official based in Islamabad said.

Read Comments

View reader comments | Comment on this story

  • Weekly review of global news and ideas
  • Balanced, insightful and trustworthy
  • Subscribe in print or digital

Special Offer

 

Doing Good

 

What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Danny Bent poses at the starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Mass.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, Danny Bent took on a cross-country challenge

The athlete-adventurer co-founded a relay run called One Run for Boston that started in Los Angeles and ended at the marathon finish line to raise funds for victims.

 
 
Become a fan! Follow us! Google+ YouTube See our feeds!