WASHINGTON: Al Qaeda is holding a US aid worker who was kidnapped in August in Pakistan, the extremist group's leader Ayman al-Zawahiri said in a Thursday statement seen by a US-based monitoring group.
Zawahiri reportedly claimed in an audio message released on jihadist forums, that al Qaeda had on August 13 abducted the elderly USAID contractor Warren Weinstein, who was "neck-deep in American aid to Pakistan," the SITE Intelligence Group said.
He said that the White House could secure the 70-year-old Weinstein's release if it halts air strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, and releases the 1993 World Trade Center bombers and relatives of Osama bin Laden.
"Just as the Americans detain all whom they suspect of links to al Qaeda and the Taliban, even remotely, we detained this man who has been neck-deep in American aid to Pakistan since the 1970s," Zawahiri said in the 31-minute video.
Among the list of eight demands for Weinstein's release, al Qaeda also called for the release of "Blind Sheikh" Omar Abdul Rahman, Ramzi Yousef and Sayyid Nosair, who are tied to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Also on the list: Abu Musab al-Suri, one of al Qaeda's senior theorists and operatives.
SITE said Zawahiri directly addressed the hostage's family, telling them that US President Barack Obama had the power to get Weinstein freed but that he was "dodging" his responsibility to push for the release.
Obama "lied, he lies, and he will lie," Zawahiri was quoted as saying.
"He might say to you: 'I sought to release your relative, but al Qaeda was stubborn.' Do not believe him.
"He might say to you: 'I tried to contact them and they did not answer.' Do not believe him. He might say to you: 'I am doing all that I can to release your relative.' Do not believe him."
Gunmen snatched Weinstein, country director for US-based consultancy J.E. Austin Associates, which does contracting work with the US Agency for International Development, from his home in Lahore in mid-August.
(Read: Pre-dawn abduction: American ‘aid expert’ kidnapped in Lahore)
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ
@vasan: The headline actually means Weinstein was abducted in Pakistan which is true so there is no discontent
Al-Qaeda’s long list of crimes provides us with enough proof regarding the threat they pose to the nations across the world. It is simply outrageous to accuse the US of having links with Al-Qaeda, and it only leaves one wondering about the impact of conspiracy theories. The truth is that this terrorist organization masterminded the deadly attacks on 9/11, and left the US with no choice but to go after them with full force. The hard work of the US and NATO forces in the region has long forced Al-Qaeda to run for cover, and the results prove that they have now resorted to these acts of desperation. The killing of their leader (OBL) was another huge setback, and Al-Qaeda has been trying to retaliate ever since. Dear readers, let’s not forget that they have been preying upon the innocents, whether Americans or Pakistanis, to achieve their dark and evil agenda. The kidnapping of this 70 year old aid worker is not only reminiscent of their terrorist ways, but once again reminds us of the threat they pose to our society. The times are difficult, and our alliance is facing a severe challenge at the moment, but it is easy to see that those who pose a threat to our nations are staying focused on trying to achieve their evil objectives.
zawahiri is doomed to be like OBL. He will get he deserves, Only matter of time.
I've met Warren on a number of occasions in London and Pakistan. Very nice guy of short stature who has a penchant for wearing shalwar suits, waistcoat, Peshawari chappals and a topi and more often than not used to get mistaken for a driver rather than an American citizen.
The poor guy used to sing the praises of Pakistan and said that he would rather work in Pakistan than anywhere else. At the time I was trying to bring infrastructure companies to invest in Pakistan and Warrens recommendations carried a lot of weight.
Now that they've heard what has happened to Warren, they've abandoned all plans of coming to Pakistan
Hope and pray that Warren is returned safely to his family.
Will it be this guy next? To be brought into Pakistan territory riding a stealth helicopter in the middle of the night; then killed and disposed off at sea.
wow man thats a great timing
US: Show us the images and video of OBL found in Pakistan!!!! Show it NOW Obama!!! The world won't believe you killed him in Pakistan! Show us the proof!! Then lets talk...
Does it have any thing to do with Salala outpost attack?
What timing .. amazing. This just blows up the whole facade. There is no zawahri .. all this seems like stooges, who shoot videos anywhere and come up this drama. This is just to suppress Pakistan at a time when the nation is getting together.
Jeez, as if things weren't bad enough for us already. Wondering what else Santa Claus has in store for Pakistan till Xmas.
And their apologists still say that there is no blood in their hands. They want all known terrorists released in exhange of an old man's life. Even Al Quaida is mad at the latest US invasion!
Takes a real freedom fighter to kidnap/ransom a 70 yr old charity worker --- he's a bona fide terrorist leader.
Well it is easy, revoke Zawahiri US citizenship, send drone to kill him. Call TTP on US satellite phones they are using to release him.
There is ZERO chance of anyone being released in exchange for Warren Weinstein! There is Now a 100 % chance that Ayman-al-Zawahiri will end up like OBL, with a double tap to the chest and a single to the head! The only question is where in Pakistan will he will be killed!
Where does Zawahiri say that the kidnapped US citizen is kept in Pakistan?. Why does ET headline say so. There seems to be a disconnect.
nothing, and i repeat, NOTHING is impossible in Pakistan. If OBL could be living here for such a long time under the nose of army, why not this one?? And so that no news having contarary point of views comes out, establishment bans news channels too....
Al-CIADA is very fishy organization
Impossible demands. Though I'd be surprised if the man is still alive considering his medical condition that was mentioned when the kidnapping first took place unless they've been kindly obtaining his medications for him this whole time. It's highly unlikely the man would want those demands to be met as well. Many elderly men, especially ones with health conditions are well aware of their probable life expectancy and they're some of the most stubborn and prideful people you'll find. Especially if he is "neck deep" in anything anti-Taliban/anti-Al Qaeda. Nobody would bargain with them on principle, regardless. Zawahiri's incompetence as a leader and planner is shown in this. While I have little confidence in their intelligence, them attempting this thinking it will work after 10 years of experience in conflict with the US makes it seem like I still overestimated them with the previous judgment of their intelligence. Though there is an upside to this in a possibly cold way. Nobody resorts to desperate measures like kidnapping unless they run out of dignified options. In this situation, that translates to them being aware they don't have the ability to attempt to do it by force. Or more simply put, it's a sign they've acknowledged their impending loss in physical confrontation. If the confidence in their ability to win was still there, this wouldn't really even come up as an option amongst themselves.
Sadly,, this is what you get when you attempt to help crazy's! I'm 71 but intelligent enough not to waste my few remaining days on triyng to help nut-ball TRIBAL rag-heads. It iz, whot it iz!! PC' ism sucks and get folks killed!!
and what is isi doing now that its confirmed zawahiri is in pak?..they probably gave him a mansion in ISI quarters...zawahiri, watch out for seal team....
Interesting timing. Until a couple of weeks ago the intelligence agencies were close to rescuing Warren Weinstein. Is it that the follow-out of the Mohmand attacks has been that Weinstein has now reached into Al Qaeda hands.
You are holding whole Pakistan hostage and just one American.
Al Qaeda operating in Pakistan? Impossible!
The only thing missing was a cameo by Al-Qaedah in this whole soap opera that has been going on for the past few days. At least USA could have waited a few days before playing their Al-Qaedah card to further pressurise Pakistan. Very poor indeed, no donut for USA/
comments of a deranged mad man.......taking an aid worker hostage is just pathetic,