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'Abducted' US aid contractor in Pak Al Qaeda affiliate's custody

Islamabad, Thu, 26 Jan 2012 ANI

Islamabad, Jan 26(ANI): A US aid contractor, who was abducted five months ago, is reportedly in the custody of a Pakistani Al Qaeda affiliate.


A militant told the McClatchy that Warren Weinstein, who was abducted from Lahore in August is presently in the custody of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi in North Waziristan.


The militant added that he had seen Weinstein last month and "his health was fine" at that time.


"He is being provided all available medical treatment, including regular checkups by a doctor and the medicines prescribed for him before he was plucked," the militant speaking on the condition of anonymity, said.


Little has been revealed publicly about Weinstein's status since December when Al Qaeda chief Ayman al Zawahiri admitted in a video that his terror network had detained him.


Weinstein, a development expert from the United States, was abducted on August 13 when unidentified gunmen, posing as neighbours offering food, pistol-whipped him and his driver and tied up his guards before whisking him away.


Weinstein, had spent several years as the Pakistan country manager for J.E. Austin Associates, a contractor for the US Agency for International Development.


Islamabad-based security analyst Mohammed Imran said he had received messages from militants indicating that Weinstein's captors had no plans to harm him, and added that he was being provided with medical care.


"Al Qaeda won't kill Weinstein. It will keep him as healthy as is possible in the circumstances, and use him as a bargaining chip in negotiations with the Pakistani authorities," The Christian Science Monitor quoted him, as saying.


Militants and security analysts said Weinstein might be traded for Al Qaeda members who were in Pakistani custody, or used as a human shield to prevent security forces from striking its camps in North Waziristan, and admitted that the process of negotiation for his release could take time. (ANI)


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