John Walker Lindh, the American who joined the Taliban after the 9/11 attacks, was released years before completing his sentence. Lindh should have been charged with treason as a born American. He never renounced his allegiance to the extremists but is now out, free to roam.
According to Fox News, Lindh, the captured Islamic militant who at age 20 journeyed to Afghanistan to join the Taliban and fought alongside the terrorists in the days after 9/11, was released from a U.S. federal prison in Indiana on Thursday, his lawyer confirmed to the Washington Post — despite lawmakers’ concerns about the “security and safety implications” of freeing an unrepentant terrorist who officials say continues to “openly call for extremist violence.”
Lindh, dubbed the “American Taliban,” had been serving his sentence at the Terre Haute, Indiana facility. He was discharged several years before completing the 20-year prison sentence he received for joining and supporting the Taliban, with officials citing “good behavior” for the early release. The former Islamist fighter and enemy combatant, named “Detainee 001 in the war on terror,” was captured alongside a group of Taliban fighters in 2001, just months after the Sept. 11 attacks and the start of the war in Afghanistan.
President Trump said Thursday that he had tried to stop the release of John Walker Lindh, known widely as the “American Taliban,” from an Indiana prison, but that there was no legal way to do so.
Mr. Lindh was freed on probation after serving 17 years of a 20-year sentence for providing support to the Taliban, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. He was captured during the invasion of Afghanistan in the fall of 2001 and returned to the United States the next year.
Mr. Trump said at an afternoon news conference that he was unhappy about Mr. Lindh’s release, but that the “best lawyers in our country that work for government” had told him there was no way to legally stop it.
“The lawyers have gone through it with a fine tooth comb,” Mr. Trump said. “If there was a way to break that, I would have broken it in two seconds.”
Bill Roggio, a Taliban expert at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies think tank in Washington, didn’t mince words when I asked him how he felt about Lindh getting out of prison: “Johnny Walker Lindh’s release is a travesty of justice and is Exhibit A in our failure to deal with unrepentant jihadists,” he told a Vox reporter.