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Kidnapped Employee of Arlington Firm Urges Obama to Bargain for His Release

'Now when I need my government it seems that I have been totally abandoned and forgotten,' Warren Weinstein says in a video purported to have been released to some U.S. news organizations.

Washington Post video, screen capture
Washington Post video, screen capture

By Danna Walker

Looking pale and speaking in a steady, unemotional voice, a 72-year-old employee of an Arlington firm appears in a video urging President Barack Obama to negotiate with the al-Qaeda militants who kidnapped him in Pakistan in 2011, the Washington Post reports.

Warren Weinstein was working as a government contractor in Pakistan with Arlington-based J.E. Austin Associates. Weinstein claims he is in poor health and has been "suffering deep anxiety every part of every day" due to being separated from his family for more than two years.

In the video, which the Post says was sent in an anonymous email to journalists who have reported from Afghanistan, Weinstein says he went to Pakistan to serve his government. 

"Now when I need my government, it seems that I have been totally abandoned and forgotten," he says.

The State Department told the paper it was working to authenticate the video and urged "that Warren Weinstein be released and returned to his family.”

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri has said that Weinstein would be freed if the United States ended air strikes in Pakistan and other countries, and he demanded the release of all imprisoned members of al-Qaeda and the Taliban, the Post reported.

Weinstein was reportedly a USAID contractor when he was taken hostage in Lahore, Pakistan, on Aug. 13, 2011.

For more, see the Washington Post's full report.

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