ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A 72-year-old American development worker who was kidnapped in Pakistan by al-Qaida 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 U.S. 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.
"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."
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 were emailed anonymously to reporters in Pakistan. The letter was dated Oct. 3, 2013, and in the video Weinstein said he had been in captivity for two years.
Al-Qaida has said Weinstein would be released if the United States halted airstrikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. It 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.