first published on May 23, 2019 by Sean
The “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh has been released from an Indiana federal prison this morning after serving only 17 of his 20-year sentence. Captured fighting for the Taliban in late 2001 just months after the September 11th attacks, he was the first westerner convicted of joining a terrorist organization during the Global War on Terror (GWOT).
John Walker Lindh, the American Taliban, was released from Terre Haute Federal Correctional Institution in Indiana this morning after serving 17 years of his 20-year sentence. Released early due to “good behavior” he will spend another three years on probation and is barred from owning an internet-connected device, from having any online communications not in English, and may not communicate with any known extremists or leave the country.
A native of California, John Walker Lindh converted to Islam while he was a teenager and traveled first to Yemen in 1998 and then Pakistan in 2000 to study Arabic and Koran. While attending a madrasa in Pakistan, Lindh decided to join the Taliban and crossed the border into neighboring Afghanistan to fight against the Northern Alliance prior to the 9/11 attacks. He was reportedly trained at an al-Qaeda training camp and met Osama bin Laden.
Lindh was captured in battle by the Northern Alliance in late 2001 after the US’s invasion of Afghanistan and brought to Qala-i-Jangi fortress. He was then interviewed by CIA officer Johnny “Mike” Spann just prior to a prison uprising by the Taliban inmates that would leave Spann the first US fatality of the GWOT.
After returning in custody to the US, Lindh was charged with multiple treason charges and conspiring to kill Spann. However, he eventually pleaded to aiding a terrorist organization and carrying weapons for the Taliban – receiving a 20-year sentence for his crimes.
With his release, questions still linger about his Islamic extremism and potential ties to terrorist networks. Since “…he has never denounced his radical Islamist ideals. In fact, the National Counterterrorism Center has warned that Lindh remains as radicalized as ever, citing his recent advocations for global jihad through violent extremist texts.”