When Taken, US Hostage Was About to Return Home

Warren Weinstein was abducted by al-Qaeda, eventually killed by US drone strike
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2015 1:03 PM CDT
When Taken, US Hostage Was About to Return Home
This image made from video released anonymously to reporters in Pakistan on Dec. 26, 2013, shows Warren Weinstein in captivity.   (AP Photo via AP video, File)

Stories recounting the life of Warren Weinstein—the 73-year-old American accidentally killed by a US drone strike after nearly four years as an al-Qaeda hostage—tend to mention one detail up high: When the aid worker was abducted in Lahore, Pakistan, in 2011, he was just days away from returning to the US after a seven-year mission. In fact, his bags were reportedly packed, reports the Daily Beast. Some other basics:

  • His job: Weinstein had been country director for JE Austin Associates, an Arlington consulting firm. He had been working with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to help set up small businesses in troubled regions.

  • Family: Weinstein had a wife of more than 45 years, Elaine, in Rockville, Md., two grown daughters, and two grandchildren, reports CNN. When his girls were young, Weinstein would take only short-stint jobs out of the country or jobs on which his family could come along, the Washington Post reported in 2013.
  • Casting blame: "We were so hopeful that those in the US and Pakistani governments with the power to take action and secure his release would have done everything possible to do so," says a statement from Elaine. (As a hostage, Weinstein had appeared in multiple videos pleading for the White House to save him.) Still, the statement says the "cowardly" abductors "bear ultimate responsibility."
  • Wrenching detail: In the 2013 Post interview, Elaine held out hope. "She keeps a toiletry bag packed in her bathroom, thinking it will save time if she ever has to run out on a moment’s notice to meet him."
(More drone strike stories.)

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