John Walker Lindh, ‘American Taliban,’ released from prison after 17 years

May 23, 2019

John Walker Lindh, a California man who was labeled the “American Taliban” following his capture on an Afghanistan battlefield, was released from prison Thursday.

John Walker Lindh, 38, was released from a Terre Haute, Indiana, prison after serving 17 years of a 20-year sentence, according to the Bureau of Prisons.

He will be living in Virginia under the close watch of a probation officer, his lawyer Bill Cummings told CNN.

Lindh left San Francisco for the Middle East in 2000 after high school,eventually moving to Afghanistan and joining the Taliban. U.S. troops found Lindh weeks after the September 11, 2001, attacks, in Afghanistan, dirty and injured.

Lindh eventually pleaded guilty to fighting with the Taliban.

“Had I realized then what I know now about the Taliban, I would never have joined them,” he said during his sentencing hearing. “I never understood jihad to mean anti-Americanism or terrorism.”

However, an NCTC report found in March 2016 that Lindh “told a television news producer that he would continue to spread violent extremist Islam upon his release.” The report detailed he would continue “to advocate for global jihad and to write and translate violent extremist texts.”

A Northern California NBC affiliate alsoreleaseddiscussions a producer had with Lindh where he said the Islamic State was doing “a spectacular job.”

“The Islamic State is clearly very sincere and serious about fulfilling the long-neglected religious obligation of establishing a caliphate through armed struggle, which is the only correct method,” Lindh told the producer, according to the report.

Judge T.S. Ellis will help monitor Lindh three years of supervised release in Virginia.

The former Taliban member will not be allowed to have “internet capable devices” without prior approval and those devices will be “monitored continuously.”

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