As It Happens

Remembering Warren Weinstein, the American hostage accidentally killed in U.S. drone strike

Today, U.S. President Barack Obama announced that American aid worker and al-Qaeda captive Warren Weinstein was killed in a drone strike in Pakistan, along with an Italian hostage, earlier this year. We talk to a friend of Weinstein's about how his death will affect his friends and family.

Weinstein, Italian aid worker Giovanni Lo Porto killed in January, Barack Obama reveals

Warren Weinstein worked in the aid sector for years before being captured by al-Qaeda in Lahore in August 2011. (Facebook)

For almost four years, Warren Weinstein's family had been hoping he'd come home to them. Today, that hope was gone.

Thursday morning, U.S. President Barack Obama announced that the American hostage died in January in a U.S. counter-terrorism operation. The U.S. drone strike in Pakistan also killed an Italian aid worker, Giovanni Lo Porto, who was also held by al-Qaeda. Intelligence officials did not know the two captives were in the strike area.

"I can't still take it in that it happened the way it did and that he will never come back and share his joy of living with us," Marshall Carter-Tripp, a long-time friend of Weinstein, tells As It Happens host Carol Off.

Al-Qaeda operatives kidnapped Weinstein in August 2011 in Lahore, Pakistan, where he was working as a consultant for USAID. Ever since, his family has campaigned for his release.

Warren Weinstein, right, with his family. (Bringwarrenhome.com)

"It's a loss for me and for everyone who knew him and, of course, for his wonderful wife and his children, whom he adored, and the next generation that will never get to know their grandfather now," she says. 

"It's really unimaginable to me, after all these years of agony, that they now know he's gone."

Carter-Tripp met Weinstein more than 40 years ago, when they were both involved in aid and study in Africa. She remembers him as a man of talent, dedication and warmth.

Weinstein was captured just days before he was to return home to Maryland. (Bringwarrenhome.com)

"Warren was the kind of person who takes a bus somewhere and, by the time he got off, he would be speaking the language of the bus driver, who would have invited him to dinner," Carter-Tripp says. "He was really amazing."

Weinstein was taken hostage just a few days before he was slated to return home to his family in Maryland. Al-Qaeda released videos of the captive, demanding that the American drone strikes end in order for him to be released. They did not.

"He looked just absolutely ghastly, and I'm sure he was not a very strong person by the time his life ended, but it shouldn't have ended that way," Carter-Tripp says.

"I don't know what Warren would have said about that whole [drone] program. [I want] to leave the blame issues for another day."

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