American hostage, abducted in Pakistan, calls for help in Al Qaeda video

Warren Weinstein, abducted from his home in Lahore in August 2011, is shown begging for help from the US government in a video released Thursday by Al Qaeda. The White House has called for Weinstein's immediate release but has said it won't negotiate with Al Qaeda.

AP Photo via AP Video
This image comes from a video, released anonymously to reporters in Pakistan on Dec. 26, showing Warren Weinstein, a 72-year-old American development worker who was kidnapped in Pakistan by Al Qaeda more than two years ago, appealing to President Obama to negotiate his release.

A 72-year-old American development worker who was kidnapped in Pakistan by Al Qaeda more than two years ago appealed to President Obama in a video released Thursday to negotiate his release, saying he feels "totally abandoned and forgotten."

The video of Warren Weinstein was the first since two videos released in September 2012. Weinstein, the country director in Pakistan for J.E. Austin Associates, a US-based firm that advises a range of Pakistani business and government sectors, was abducted from his house in the eastern city of Lahore in August 2011.

In the video sent Thursday to reporters in Pakistan including The Associated Press, Weinstein called on the US government to negotiate 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 during the 13-minute video. "And so I again appeal to you to instruct your appropriate officials to negotiate my release."

It was impossible to tell how much Weinstein's statement, made under the duress of captivity, was scripted by his captors.

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 Qaeda'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.

In the video, Weinstein wore a grey track suit jacket and what appeared to be a black knit hat on his head. His face was partially covered with a beard.

Al Qaeda has said Weinstein would be released if the US halted airstrikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen and also demanded the release of all Al Qaeda 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 Qaeda.

The videos last year showed Weinstein appealing for help from the Jewish community and Israel's prime minister.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.