A video of a Jewish-American aid worker that has been held in captivity in Pakistan for more than a year now was posted online Wednesday (Sept. 12).
Warren Weinstein, country director of U.S.-based consulting firm J.E. Austin Associates, is reportedly being held hostage by terrorist group al-Qaida. His plea in this video echoes one he made in an undated footage released in May: accept al-Qaida’s demands so he can be with his family. Freeing all imprisoned al-Qaida and Taliban suspects is among the demands.
This time, however, the plea was directed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, not U.S. President Barack Obama.
Weinstein was kidnapped August 2011 in Lahore, Pakistan, a conflict-torn country that has seen a string of attacks on aid workers. Just this year, an International Committee of the Red Cross staff member’s beheaded body was found in Quetta, Balochistan province. A local polio aid worker was also killed in July in Karachi province.
These incidents often hamper aid work. ICRC, for instance, decided to terminate a number of its operations in Pakistan following its staff member’s death. But they are especially worrying for the country’s citizens, many of whom suffer from poor health, climate change and other challenges. In Pakistan, such insecurity impedes economic development and poverty reduction efforts, according to the World Bank.
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