Is Al Qaeda's Jewish Kidnap Victim Alive in Pakistan?
It's been one year since Jewish American contractor Warren Weinstein, 71, was kidnapped by Al Qaeda terrorists on August 13, 2011 from the home where he stayed in Lahore, Pakistan. His whereabouts and conditions are still unknown, despite an intensive probe of the abduction by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The Rockville, Maryland resident's wife, Elaine Weinstein, on Monday marked the one-year anniversary of his abduction from the eastern Pakistani city with a statement urging his release.
This past May, Weinstein was shown in a video posted on jihadist websites by Al Qaeda's media outlet. In the video, he is seated before a low table laden with a plate of food, in front of what appears to be a wall hung with a plain white sheet as a background.
"My life is in your hands, Mr. President,” Weinstein says in the video. “If you accept the demands, I live. If you don't accept the demands, then I die.”
The video followed an earlier statement in December 2011 in which Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri said the contractor would only be released if the U.S. halted air strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, and released all Al Qaeda and Taliban prisoners worldwide.
Elaine Weinstein said that her husband suffers from a heart condition, severe asthma and high blood pressure. She described her fears that his health “will deteriorate if he is not allowed to see the doctors and specialists that have helped keep him alive in recent years.”
Weinstein was in the country for the past eight years working as the local director for J.E. Austin Associates, consulting for Pakistan's various government agencies and businesses.
Hundreds of well-paying jobs were created, and the standard of living was raised in communities where such businesses were located, according to the company. Weinstein was on the verge of wrapping up a final project and getting ready to leave the country when he was abducted, the company said.
In her statement, his wife talked about their family together, and how frightening she finds the passage of time as it continues to zip by.
"Our grandchildren are growing and changing so fast,” she wrote. “They miss their grandfather and ask for him every day. It is so difficult to explain why he can't be with them.
“It is impossible to describe the pain and sadness my daughters and I feel. We are simply heartsick,” she added. “I always imagined growing old with Warren and enjoying our family together.
"I don't understand why he was taken.”