NPR : News

Filed Under:

Hostage In Pakistan Is Aid Expert

Play associated audio

Warren Weinstein, the American kidnapped in Pakistan who in a video released by al-Qaida over the weekend says he will die if President Obama does not go along with the terrorist network's demands, is an international aid expert who was taken hostage last August just 48 hours before he was due to leave Pakistan.

As NPR's Julie McCarthy has reported, "Weinstein is said to have lived in Pakistan at least six years, working with J.E. Austin, an international development consulting firm based in Virginia. Weinstein is reputed in the industry to be a veteran of development aid, which is what he was doing in Pakistan, according to the company."

He is "a former Peace Corps and U.S. aid official," ABC News adds.

The 70-year-old Weinstein, who is from Rockville, Md., says in the video that "my life is in your hands, Mr. President. If you accept the demands, I live. If you don't accept the demands, I die."

"In a video message posted on militant websites in December," The Associated Press says, "al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri said Weinstein would be released if the United States stopped airstrikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. He also demanded the release of all al-Qaida and Taliban suspects around the world."

According to the Los Angeles Times, "Pakistani officials have said they believe that Weinstein is being held somewhere in the country's volatile tribal region along the Afghan border, where al-Qaida militants and other Islamic extremist groups maintain strongholds. The 2-minute, 40-second video of Weinstein, released on Sunday, shows him dressed in a traditional Pakistani tunic as he calmly urges Obama to acquiesce to Al Qaeda's demands."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit

WAMU 88.5

A Conversation With "Broad City" Co-Star Abbi Jacobson

What do Michelle Obama, Anna Wintour and Michael Jordan carry in their bags? Abbi Jacobson imagines the things you might find in her new illustrated book, "Carry This Book." We talk to the "Broad City" co-star about what you can learn from the contents of bags—and her success creating and starring in the hit Comedy Central show.

WAMU 88.5

New Approaches To Tackling Local Youth Hunger

The First Lady of Virginia Dorothy McAuliffe and other regional leaders are exploring new, innovative ways to combat local food insecurity.

WAMU 88.5

What Washington Really Thinks of the Rest of America

Kojo explores the surprising findings of a Johns Hopkins survey on what D.C.'s federal workers and unelected policy makers really think of the American public.


Researchers Build 'Nightmare Machine'

An MIT project rolled out just in time for Halloween uses artificial intelligence to generate horror images.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.