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Warren Weinstein Video: Kidnapped Government Contractor Asks U.S. To Negotiate With Al Qaeda For His Release

12/26/2013 03:26 am ET | Updated Dec 26, 2013

A U.S. government contractor who was abducted by terrorists in Pakistan more than two years ago has appeared in a new video, The Washington Post reported.

In the video, which was released by As-Sahab, the media arm of al Qaeda, kidnap victim Warren Weinstein pleads for the Obama administration to negotiate for his release.

The 72-year-old consultant from Rockville, Md., wants the U.S. government to take renewed interest in his plight, and to consider releasing al Qaeda militants currently in custody.

According to the Washington Post, the video was sent anonymously by email to several journalists who have reported in Afghanistan. Links to a handwritten note were also included in the missive. It is unknown when the video was recorded, and the State Department has not independently reviewed its contents.

"I have appealed several times to President Obama to help me but to no avail. I am therefore writing now to the media to ask that you help me to gain my release and rejoin my family -- my wife, two daughters, two grandchildren and my son-in-law," the note stated. "I am hoping that you will take up my case on a human interest and humanitarian basis, and that you can help my family and me to convince President Obama to take action to negotiate my release."

At the time of Weinstein's kidnapping, U.S. Embassy spokesman Alberto Rodriguez told Agence France-Presse: "We are working with Pakistani authorities on this issue."

In the years since then, al Qaeda has repeatedly asked for the U.S. to free several imprisoned members and to halt drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen.

As a matter of policy, the U.S. does not negotiate with terrorists.

More from The Associated Press:

ISLAMABAD (AP) — 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.-based 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.

In the video sent Thursday to reporters in Pakistan including The Associated Press, Weinstein called on the U.S. government to negotiate his release.

"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 during the 13-minute video. "And so I again appeal to you to instruct your appropriate officials to negotiate my release."

The video and an accompanying letter purported to be from Weinstein was emailed anonymously to reporters in Pakistan. The video was labelled "As-Sahab," which is al-Qaida's media wing, but its authenticity could not be independently verified. The letter was dated Oct. 3, 2013 and in the video Weinstein said he had been in captivity for two years.

In the video, Weinstein wore a grey track suit jacket and what appeared to be a black knit hat on his head. His face was partially covered with a beard.

Al-Qaida has said Weinstein would be released if the U.S. halted airstrikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen and 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.

The videos last year showed Weinstein appealing for help from the Jewish community and Israel's prime minister.

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