The American USAID worker killed in a US drone strike on an al Qaeda hideout previously pleaded with President Barack Obama to negotiate with the terror group in a video that the jihadist group released during his captivity.
Warren Weinstein was shown in a taped messaged released in December 2013 insisting that the only way to save his life would be for the president to negotiate with the terror group.
The statement may have been coerced out of Weinstein, who was held in al Qaeda captivity at the time the video was made.
“You are now in your second term as president of the United States and that means that you can take hard decisions without worrying about reelection,” Weinstein said in the video.
He stopped short of saying specifically what could be done, but the al Qaeda demands at the time included an end to airstrikes in the region and the release of all captured terrorists.
Since US policy is to not negotiate with terrorists, the strikes continued.
“As president, and commander-in-chief, I take full responsibility for all our counter-terrorism operations” Obama said in a Thursday morning statement. “I profoundly regret what happened.”
US officials have repeatedly touted drone strikes as an effective means to damage the terrorists.
“We believed that this was an al Qaeda compound, that no civilians were present, and that capturing the terrorists was not possible,” said Obama, adding that the drone strike was carried out following hundreds of hours of surveillance.
Both Weinstein and Italian Giovanni Lo Porto were being held in the compound, but Weinstein’s family holds his captors responsible for his death.
“Those who took Warren captive over three years ago bear ultimate responsibility,” widow Elaine Weinstein said in a statement released shortly after Obama spoke.
“the cowardly actions of those who took Warren captive and ultimately to the place and time of his death are not in keeping with Islam,” she added.
Weinstein was working in Pakistan with USAID to help alleviate the extreme poverty faced by millions of Pakistanis.
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