A 72-year-old American government contractor captured in Pakistan by Al-Qaeda members over two years ago has released a video asking U.S. leaders to negotiate his release.
The U.S. government does not negotiate with terrorists as a matter of policy. But this relative stubbornness on the behalf of the government has left U.S. citizen Warren Weinstein stranded abroad in the custody of terrorists.
“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 his video. “And so again I appeal to you to instruct your appropriate officials to negotiate my release.”
Weinstein’s video was released through As-Sahab, the media affiliate of Al-Qaeda. The video is the first released by Weinstein since September of 2012.
Weinstein did not say what specific steps the U.S. government could take to secure his release, but he did add that Al-Qaeda would grant a visit from his relatives if the American government agreed to release certain Al-Qaeda captives.
He also pleaded with western media outlets to cover his story in an effort to raise awareness in the public sphere that could pressure the U.S. government to act on his behalf.
“I have appealed several times to President Obama to help me but to no avail. I am therefore writing now to the media to ask that you help me to gain my release and rejoin my family — my wife, two daughters, two grandchildren and my son-in-law,” he said. “I am hoping that you will take up my case on a human interest and humanitarian basis, and that you can help my family and me to convince President Obama to take action to negotiate my release.”