A U.S. federal prison is expected to release John Walker Lindh, an allegedly unrepentant jihadi known as the “American Taliban,” on Thursday, years before the end of his 20-year sentence reportedly due to good conduct and time served before his trial.
Lindh became the “American Taliban” after he joined the Afghan terrorist group and U.S. troops captured him in late 2001 when he was 20 years old.
In October 2001, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan to oust the Taliban regime for harboring al-Qaeda before the September 11 attacks. The war in Afghanistan continues, and the Taliban and al-Qaeda remain allies.
After taking into account good behavior and time served, Lindh will have spent 17 years in prison.
Fox News reports:
The Islamic militant who became known as the infamous “American Taliban” member is set to be released from a U.S. federal prison Thursday despite lawmakers’ concerns about the “security and safety implications” of freeing an unrepentant terrorist who officials say continues to “openly call for extremist violence.”
John Walker Lindh, who is currently behind bars in Terre Haute, Indiana, is set to be discharged May 23, several years before he would complete the prescribed 20-year prison sentence he received for joining and supporting the Taliban.
In a rare show of bipartisanship, Sens. Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) wrote a letter to the Federal Bureau of Prisons last week expressing concern over the looming release of convicted the American Taliban jihadi “and other terrorist offenders.”
The Senators declared in the letter:
We write to express concern over the anticipated release of convicted American Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh and request information about what steps the U.S. government is taking to ensure public safety.
As many as 108 other terrorist offenders are scheduled to complete their sentences and be released from U.S. federal prisons over the next few years. Little information has been made available to the public about who, when, and where these offenders will be released, whether they pose an ongoing public threat, and what your agencies are doing to mitigate this threat while the offenders are in federal custody.
The Senators stressed their concern with the lack of sufficient behavioral programs to prevent recidivism, among other things.
“We must consider the security and safety implications for our citizens and communities who will receive individuals like John Walker Lindh who continue to openly call for extremist violence,” Sens. Shelby and Hassan concluded.
Authorities have accused Lindh of playing a role in the murder of Johnny “Mike” Spann, the U.S. Marine turned CIA operative who became the first American to be killed in combat in Afghanistan.
In March, the American warrior’s daughter, Allison, told Fox News that Lindh’s early release “feels like such a slap in the face.”
Allison described him as “a traitor to the United States” for refusing to cooperate with American troops.
Under a plea agreement, prosecutors reportedly dropped nine of ten counts leveled against Lindh in 2002, including one for murder conspiracy involving Spann.
Ultimately, Lindh pled guilty to “disobeying an executive order outlawing support to the Taliban and for possessing a weapon in Afghanistan,” Fox News notes.
The Mercury News learned that Lindh’s release “comes a few years short of his 20-year sentence due to credits for good conduct and time served before his sentencing.”
Originally from northern California’s Marin County, Lindh, an Islam convert, traveled to Afghanistan through Yemen and Pakistan shortly before the 9/11 attacks.
He trained in Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban, and met the late al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden on at least one occasion, Fox News points out.
Documents obtained by Foreign Policy show that, as early 2017, the National Counterterrorism Center stressed that Lindh continued to “advocate for global jihad and write and translate violent extremist texts.”
Last March, he reportedly told a TV producer that he would “continue to spread violent extremism Islam upon his release.”
According to the Washington Post, Lindh will need permission to connect to the Internet and will not have access to a passport, among other restrictions.