‘American Taliban’ fighter released
by Kyle Ziemnick
Posted 5/23/19, 11:38 am
Californian John Walker Lindh, known as the “American Taliban,” was released from prison Thursday after serving 17 years of his 20-year sentence. A court granted him an early release from federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., for good behavior with special conditions for parole, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Lindh, now 38, traveled through Pakistan on his way to Afghanistan in November 2000 after converting to Islam and joined the Taliban in fighting against U.S. troops. He was captured on an Afghanistan battlefield in late 2001 and pleaded guilty to providing support to the Taliban.
The family of Mike Spann, a U.S. soldier killed in a 2001 Taliban prisoner revolt shortly after interrogating Lindh, protested the release. In an interview with ABC News on Sunday, Spann’s father, Johnny Spann, asked President Donald Trump to stop the release: “Mr. President, please do your job.”
Sens. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., in a statement released on Tuesday, expressed concern over how the government would protect the public from Lindh. They cited a 2017 article by Foreign Policy, which claimed to have obtained government documents with quotes from Lindh indicating his wish to continue spreading “violent extremist Islam.”
Lindh will remain under numerous restrictions, such as internet monitoring on all his devices, English-only online communication, and mental health counseling.
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Kyle is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.