Warren Weinstein

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Warren Weinstein
Born (1941-07-03)July 3, 1941
Died January 14, 2015(2015-01-14) (aged 73)
Nationality American
Alma mater Columbia University
Occupation Aid worker
Known for contributions to the field of economic development

Warren Weinstein (July 3, 1941 – January 14, 2015)[1] was an American contractor, and director in Pakistan for J.E. Austin Associates,[2] a firm which increases business competitiveness and growth in developing economies.[3] He was kidnapped by eight al-Qaeda members on August 13, 2011, in Lahore, Pakistan.[4][5][6][7] He was accidentally killed in a January 2015 US drone strike on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, as announced by U.S. President Barack Obama at a White House press conference on April 23, 2015.[8][9]


He earned an MA in international relations, and a PhD degree in international law and economics, from Columbia University.[10] In the 1970s, he was a professor in the political science department at the State University of New York at Oswego, leaving in 1979 to work on economic development with USAID.[11][12][13] He had a home in Rockville, Maryland.[14] In the 1980s, he was the Peace Corps director in Togo.[15]

At the time of his kidnapping, Weinstein was living in Lahore, Pakistan and working as a Country Director of Operations for the Virginia-based development company J.E. Austin Associates. His work reportedly involved supervising a four-year $11-million "competitiveness project", funded by the American government, which was involved in dairy, horticulture, furniture and medical equipment projects. He spoke six foreign languages and had 25 years of experience in international development projects.[16]

Eight armed kidnappers arrived at his house on the morning of August 13, 2011, just when his guards were having food and starting their Ramadan fasting. According to one of them, the kidnappers knocked and when he opened the door, he saw three men standing; they offered meals to him and when he politely refused, five more men stormed the house from the back door and overpowered all the guards, tying their hands behind their backs. They then made Weinstein's driver knock on his bedroom door, and grabbed Weinstein when he opened it.[17]

Kidnapping for ransom is common.[18] Three guards and his driver were being held.[19] On November 1, 2011, arrests were made in the case.[20] On December 1, 2011, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri claimed to be holding him.[21][22][23][24]

In January 2012, he was reported held in North Waziristan, by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.[25][26]

In May 2012, al-Qaeda released a proof-of-life video of Weinstein.[27] Two more followed that September,[28][29] and a fourth was released in December 2013.[30]


On January 14, 2015, Weinstein was accidentally killed in one of a series of unmanned aircraft strikes in Waziristan, Pakistan, along with an Italian hostage, Giovanni Lo Porto, and American al Qaeda operatives Ahmed Farouq and Adam Gadahn, the White House announced on April 23, 2015. The White House said it was unaware that any of the victims were present at the sites targeted. They were killed by a "signature strike", one that is launched based on behavioural evidence around a site suggesting a high-value target is inside, without knowing who is actually inside.[31][32][33]

Following the announcement, his wife, Elaine, called the government's assistance during Weinstein's years in captivity "inconsistent and disappointing", echoing criticism similar to that expressed by the parents of other killed prisoners, including James Foley and Kayla Mueller. "We hope that my husband’s death and the others who have faced similar tragedies in recent months will finally prompt the U.S. Government to take its responsibilities seriously and establish a coordinated and consistent approach to supporting hostages and their families," she said in a media statement.[34]


  • Warren Weinstein, John J. Grotpeter, The pattern of African decolonization: a new interpretation, Program of Eastern African Studies, Syracuse University, 1973, ISBN 978-0-915984-07-7
  • Chinese and Soviet aid to Africa, Praeger Publishers, 1975, ISBN 978-0-275-09050-0
  • Warren Weinstein, Robert A. Schrire, Political conflict and ethnic strategies: a case study of Burundi, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, 1976
  • Soviet and Chinese aid to African nations, Praeger, 1980, ISBN 978-0-03-052756-2
  • A sea of troubles: decolonization in Burundi, 1958-1962, University Microfilms International, 1985
  • Ellen K. Eggers, Warren Weinstein, Historical dictionary of Burundi, Scarecrow Press, 1997, ISBN 978-0-8108-3261-9

See also[edit]


  1. ^ https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/warren-weinstein-adam-gadahn-killed-u-s-operation-n346861
  2. ^ Alexander, Harriet (2011-08-13). "American aid worker Warren Weinstein kidnapped in Pakistan". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 2011-12-03. 
  3. ^ J.E. Austin Associates, Inc. website
  4. ^ "US aid official kidnapped in Pakistan - Central & South Asia". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 2011-12-03. 
  5. ^ Hannah Roberts (2011-08-15). "Warren Weinstein: American kidnapped in Pakistan in armed raid on his home | Mail Online". London: Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-12-03. 
  6. ^ Rodriguez, Alex; Khan, Nasir (2011-08-14). "American kidnapped in Pakistan - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. Retrieved 2011-12-03. 
  7. ^ "US citizen kidnapped by unknown assailants in Pakistan". Jpost.com. 2011-08-13. Retrieved 2011-12-03. 
  8. ^ ADI. "President Obama Comments on Death of Hostages". CNN.com. Retrieved 2015-04-23. 
  9. ^ Jeremy Diamond, with reporting Jim Sciutto, Elise Labott, Pamela Brown, Jamie Crawford, Jim Acosta and Gloria Borger, CNN (23 April 2015). "U.S. drone strike accidentally killed 2 hostages". CNN. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  10. ^ "US Citizen Kidnapped in Pakistan « VOA Breaking News". Blogs.voanews.com. Retrieved 2011-12-03. 
  11. ^ Robert A. Baker. "Former SUNY Oswego professor reported kidnapped in Pakistan". The Post-Standard. Retrieved 2011-12-03. 
  12. ^ Nia Towne (23 April 2015). "American killed in U.S. counterterrorism operation was former SUNY Oswego professor". CNY Central. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  13. ^ "SUNY Oswego president expresses sadness on loss of Dr. Weinstein" (Press release). Oswego, New York: State University of New York at Oswego. 2015-04-23. Retrieved 2015-04-23. 
  14. ^ "Al Qaeda demands end to air strike on Muslim countries in return for kidnapped American". The Daily Mail. London. 2 December 2011. 
  15. ^ Daniel Bergner (February 11, 2016). "The Killing of Warren Weinstein". The New York Times. 
  16. ^ "Pre-dawn abduction: American 'aid expert' kidnapped in Lahore". The Express Tribune. 14 August 2011. 
  17. ^ "American aid worker Warren Weinstein kidnapped in Pakistan". 13 August 2011. 
  18. ^ "BBC News - Al-Qaeda says it kidnapped Warren Weinstein in Pakistan". Bbc.co.uk. 2011-12-01. Retrieved 2011-12-03. 
  19. ^ "AFP: Month on, fears grow for kidnapped American in Pakistan". Google.com. 2011-09-12. Retrieved 2011-12-03. 
  20. ^ "Police claim arrest of kidnappers of Taseer's son". Thenews.com.pk. 2011-11-01. Retrieved 2011-12-03. 
  21. ^ AFP. "Al Qaeda claims kidnapping of Weinstein in Pakistan – The Express Tribune". Tribune.com.pk. Retrieved 2011-12-03. 
  22. ^ "Al-Qaida says it is holding US hostage - World news - South and Central Asia - Pakistan - msnbc.com". MSNBC. 2011-08-19. Retrieved 2011-12-03. 
  23. ^ "Al Qaeda leader al-Zawahiri claims responsibility for kidnapping American – This Just In - CNN.com Blogs". News.blogs.cnn.com. 2011-12-01. Retrieved 2011-12-03. 
  24. ^ Dan Murphy (December 2, 2011). "Is kidnapping older, unarmed civilians all that's left for Al Qaeda?". The Christian Science Monitor. 
  25. ^ Hussain, Tom (January 25, 2012). "Al Qaida still holding American contractor hostage in Pakistan". McClatchy Newspapers. Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  26. ^ Hussain, Tom (January 25, 2012). "Kidnapped US aid contractor reportedly held by militants in Pakistan". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  27. ^ The Christian Science Monitor. "US hostage Warren Weinstein makes plea to Obama in Al Qaeda video (+video)". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  28. ^ "Topic Galleries". Chicago Tribune. 
  29. ^ "U.S. hostage urges Jewish groups to work for his release". Reuters. 2012-09-13. 
  30. ^ Londoño, Ernesto (2013-12-26). "National Security". The Washington Post. 
  31. ^ "Warren Weinstein, Adam Gadahn Killed in U.S. Drone Strikes". NBC News. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  32. ^ Kim, Susanna (April 23, 2015). "Warren Weinstein: A Look Back at the Life of the American Hostage Killed During Counterterrorism Operation". ABC News. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  33. ^ Fantz, Ashley (April 23, 2015). "Al Qaeda hostage, American Warren Weinstein, killed in operation". CNN. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  34. ^ "Warren Weinstein's Wife Slams Government After Hostage Dies in American Air Strike", Reuters, via Jewish Daily Forward

External links[edit]