Tuesday, August 12, 2014
ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) — In the three years since American aid worker Warren Weinstein was kidnapped by militants in Lahore, Pakistan, his family has existed in a strange, sad limbo.
His wife, Elaine Weinstein, keeps their home in suburban Rockville tidy and recently had the back deck resurfaced, but she won't paint or redecorate without her husband. Their daughter, Jennifer Coakley, mentioned the other day that she would be riding the Metro subway, and Coakley's 6-year-old son asked if his grandfather would be on the train.
Holidays and birthdays are the worst — the occasions when, no matter where his globe-trotting career took him, Weinstein would be home.
Weinstein, who turned 73 in July, was abducted on Aug. 13, 2011, four days before his seven-year stint in Pakistan was scheduled to end. It's believed that he's being held in a mountainous region near the Afghan border where the Pakistani military is fighting extremists. His captors have released four videos of him, most recently last Christmas.
Since then, his family has received no substantive updates. He has a heart condition that requires medication, along with high blood pressure and asthma. His family is worried that his health could fail or that he could be mistakenly killed by Pakistani forces. Still, Elaine Weinstein, 71, said she is confident that she'll see her husband alive again.
"If I give up hope, I won't get up in the morning," she told The Associated Press in an interview at her home. "That's basically my reason."
Warren Weinstein was a business development expert working in Pakistan on a contract with the U.S. Agency for International Development. USAID has come under recent scrutiny for sending contract workers to Cuba to do dangerous undercover work. Elaine Weinstein said she had no reason to believe her husband was involved in any covert operations. She spent months with him at a time in Pakistan and accompanied him on international trips with Pakistani businesspeople.
"He was so busy with what he had to do, there's no way that he had time to do anything else," she said.
Warren lived in Pakistan full time from 2004 until his kidnapping, coming home about four times a year. He took all the necessary precautions, she said. She never felt unsafe when she was there.
Warren wore traditional Pakistani garments while living there and speaks Urdu. He is Jewish, but not observant, and his wife said she did not think her husband was targeted because of his religion.
"If that was going to happen, I think that would have happened way, way earlier," she said.
Follow Ben Nuckols on Twitter at https://twitter.com/APBenNuckols.