John Walker Lindh, a man called the “American Taliban,” left a federal prison in Indiana on Thursday after 17 years behind bars. He received a 20-year sentence after he joined the Taliban in Afghanistan after 9/11.

Lawmakers tried to persuade against Lindh’s release even though he “will have a set of heavy restrictions placed on him.”

Officials captured Lindh and other Taliban fighters in 2001 a few months after 9/11. They believe he still poses a threat, especially since he has praised ISIS from prison and continued to pursue “Islamic knowledge.”

From Fox News:

“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. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., and Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., wrote in a letter to the Federal Bureau of Prisons late last week and that was obtained by the Washington Post.

In the letter, the lawmakers reportedly sought details on how the agency is working to prevent prisoners such as Lindh from committing additional crimes after their release. They also asked which other “terrorist offenders” are next in line to be freed and how the Federal Bureau of Prisons determines whether or not someone is an “ongoing public threat.”

Officials blame Lindh “for playing a role in the death of Johnny ‘Mike’ Spann, a U.S Marine turned CIA paramilitary operative who became the first American to be killed in combat in Afghanistan.” He died during a Taliban uprising at the Qala-i-Jangi fortress.

Lindh faced ten counts, including “one for murder conspiracy due to the role he played in the deadly prison rebellion.” Officials dropped nine of the ten counts. Lindh pleaded “guilty to disobeying an executive order outlawing support to the Taliban and for possessing a weapon in Afghanistan.”

Every year in November, Professor Jacobson dedicates a post to remember Spann.

Spann’s daughter slammed Lindh’s release on Twitter.

Lindh claimed the Taliban uprising at the fortress surprised him and that he had nothing to do with Spann’s death. U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III insisted no one has “evidence that linked Lindh to Spann’s death.”

Dartmouth Professor Brian Glyn Williams provided a first-hand account of his visit in 2013 to the fortress:

From his home, his wife and his family, Spann was flown across the world to the republic to the north of Afghanistan, Uzbekistan. There he and the rest of his SAD team waited at an airbase known as “K2” (Karshi Khanabad) for news from Dostum, whom they were told was eagerly awaiting them in a mountain valley known as the Darya Suf 110 kilometers south of Mazar e Sharif. Then, some time around the night of October 12th, Spann and the other members of his team boarded a Black Hawk helicopter flown by the 160th SOAR (Special Operations Aviation Regiment) “Night Stalkers” and prepared to be infiltrated through Taliban airspace into Dostum’s rebel enclave. Half way through their flight their helicopter took part in the first in air refueling of the war, then proceeded on its long and dangerous journey. After over an hour and a half, the mountains of the Hindu Kush rose up before them in the darkness and they began to sluggishly wind their way up one dark valley after another avoiding the occasional Taliban anti-aircraft fire.

Finally, they arrived at a HLZ (Helicopter Landing Zone) marked out by Dostum’s anti-Taliban Uzbek rebels’ lamps. As the fine Afghan dust swirled around them, Spann and the rest of his team scrambled out of their helicopter to be greeted by smiling Uzbek horsemen that looked like characters from a Star Wars movie. On the next day Dostum himself rode up with his guards and embraced them….

To assist Dostum in his plan, the CIA agents called in reinforcements including a Green Beret Team known as ODA 595 (Operational Detachment Alpha, code named “Tiger 02”) and a US Air Force combat air controller team to call in bomb strikes known as Operational Detachment Command 53. Together, the CIA agents and the Special Force teams began to ride with Dostum’s horsemen calling in bomb strikes before their cavalry charges.

…. When it was over only a few of the prisoners survived (including one named John Walker Lindh, the so-called “American Taliban”) and Spann’s body, which had been booby trapped by the Taliban with grenades, was found with two 30 caliber bullet holes in the head amidst those he had killed in the final brutal seconds of his life.

Maybe Rolling Stone will put Lindh on a cover of a future issue.

 
 
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