Zawahiri said in a video message on Thursday (Dec 1) that the group had kidnapped Weinstein in Lahore on Aug 13 in retaliation to US detentions of those connected with al-Qaeda or the Taliban. He said that the White House could secure his release if it ends air strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen and release the 1993 World Trade Center bombers and relatives of Osama bin Laden being held by US in the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Warren Weinstein, 63, worked for Virginia-based consulting firm JE Austin & Associates, which runs development projects for USAID in Pakistan's tribal region.
Meanwhile. Zawahiri, who took over at the top of the extremist network this year after bin Laden was killed, claimed that his aide Atiyah abd al-Rahman was killed in a US airstrike in Pakistan's northwest tribal Waziristan in August.