Congress marks three years of al-Qaida captivity for local man


t’s been three years since Warren Weinstein was kidnapped by members of the terrorist group al-Qaida as he was leaving Pakistan. There has been no official word from the Rockville resident since the December 2013 release of his videotaped plea for the Obama administration to negotiate for his release.

On Aug. 13, the three-year anniversary of his disappearance, Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) – Weinstein is one of his constituents – introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives calling for Obama “to use all the lawful tools at its disposal to bring Warren Weinstein home to his family.” A concurrent resolution was introduced in the Senate by Maryland Sens. Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski, who are both Democrats.

Weinstein, 72, is a former official of the Peace Corps and United States Agency for International Development and was working in Pakistan for a government contractor to promote economic development when he was kidnapped.

According to published reports, al-Qaida has demanded a halt to airstrikes in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen and the release of al-Qaida and Taliban members held in the United States before it will allow Weinstein to go free.

“Warren Weinstein, an American, a husband, a father, and a grandfather is still in al-Qaida’s hands. We know that Warren is in ill health and needs medical care; but Warren is in the hands of terrorists, not those who love him,” Delaney wrote in a statement to Washington Jewish Week.

“Pakistan must cooperate with our efforts. Any American held overseas must be a priority, and we must use every lever available to us. Warren, you are not forgotten,” Delaney wrote.

On Weinstein’s third anniversary in captivity, Cardin tweeted that he stands with Mikulski and Delaney “in calling for White House to find Warren Weinstein & bring him home safely to his family.”

Because the United States has a policy not to negotiate with terrorists, any negotiations for Weinstein’s release are being conducted with Pakistan and other global partners, and not al-Qaida itself, Delaney explained.

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