In exchange for releasing Warren Weinstein, a 70-year-old American aid worker who they may or may not be holding captive, al Qaeda is demanding an end to airstrikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen; the release of Taliban suspects worldwide; and the release of all Guantanamo detainees. "Just as the Americans detain whomever they suspect may be connected to al-Qaeda or the Taliban even in the slightest of ways, we have detained this man who has been involved with US aid to Pakistan since the 1970s," said al Qaeda leader Aymani Zawahiri said in a video yesterday, but The Guardian reports that there was no evidence if Warren is even alive. In fact, uncertainty and the lack of evidence is basically the only thing that news outlets are agreeing upon. MSNBC noted, "There were strong indications Friday that a dreaded militant faction of the Pakistani Taliban is holding American development expert Warren Weinstein, who was kidnapped from home in Pakistan in August." And at the time of his kidnapping in August, the U.S. was still puzzled about who had him or his whereabouts. "It is worrisome in the case of Weinstein, believed to suffer ill health, that there has been no public demand for money, a prisoner exchange or even proof that he's alive," reported NPR earlier this month when examining the trend of kidnappings, while The Guardian added, "It is not clear if Weinstein was snatched by members of al-Qaida or taken for ransom and then passed or sold to the terrorist group." And for now, it doesn't look like the U.S. has any intention of halting its airstrikes or releasing every al Qaeda member into the world just to find out.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.