Al Qaeda has urged the family of an American aid worker it kidnapped in Pakistan three years ago to push the U.S. government to negotiate his release. Warren Weinstein was taken in 2011, four days before his seven-year stint with the U.S. Agency for International Development was due to end. Al Qaeda said in a statement directed at Weinstein's family the U.S. government wanted him "to die in prison so that it may absolve itself of responsibility regarding his case."
Laith Alkhouri, a senior analyst at New York-based intelligence consulting firm Flashpoint Global Partners, said the message was likely authentic as it had been posted in a top-tier al Qaeda forum. The State Department was not immediately available for comment. Al Qaeda said in the statement it was not interested in keeping Weinstein, it was "only seeking to exchange him" for its own prisoners. "The continued silence on the inaction of your government will only lead to your prisoner dying a lonely death in prison," it said. The White House has called for the release of Weinstein, who turned 73 in July, but said it would not negotiate with the terror group. In a video message recorded in December, Weinstein said he felt "totally abandoned and forgotten" by the United States.
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