Washington: Al Qaeda is holding a US aid
worker who was kidnapped in August in Pakistan, the extremist
group`s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has said in a statement seen
by a US-based monitoring group.
Zawahiri said yesterday in a video message sent to
jihadist forums that al Qaeda had on August 13 abducted
elderly USAID contractor Warren Weinstein, who was "neck-deep
in American aid to Pakistan," the SITE Intelligence Group
He said the White House could secure the 70-year-old
Weinstein`s release if it halts US 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 a 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
Gunmen snatched Weinstein, country director for US-based
consultancy JE Austin Associates, which does contracting
work with the US Agency for International Development, from
his home in the eastern city of Lahore.