DUBAI - Al-Qaeda has urged the family of an American kidnapped in Pakistan in 2011 to press their government to negotiate an exchange or face the risk of his “dying a lonely death”.

“If you want Warren Weinstein to be released, do whatever you can to pressurise your government,” it said in a statement posted this week on Islamist websites.

Weinstein, a development expert who had lived in Lahore since 2006 and learned Urdu, was snatched in Lahore on August 13, 2011.

He appeared in a December 2013 video in which, under apparent coercion, he called on the United States to free Al-Qaeda prisoners.

The kidnappers of the 73-year-old American are demanding the release of several Islamists jailed in the United States, including the blind cleric Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman. “Your continued silence on the inaction of your government will only lead to your prisoner dying a lonely death in prison after this deliberate and prolonged neglect on the part of your government,” said Al-Qaeda.

“We are not interested in retaining the prisoner in our protection. We are only seeking to exchange him in return for the fulfilment of our demands that we have conveyed,” it said.

Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, claiming responsibility in December 2011 for the abduction, demanded a halt to US air strikes in Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen as well as prisoner releases.