An American who traveled to Afghanistan to fight with the Taliban was released from federal prison despite continued safety concerns from lawmakers.
John Walker Lindh, otherwise known as the “American Taliban”, was released from a detention center in Indiana on Thursday for what officials cite as “good behavior.”
Lindh was captured by U.S. officials back in 2001 and was released years early despite being sentenced to 20 years behind bars.
His release comes as lawmakers wrote a letter to the FBI last week warning against the former militant’s release.
The letter warned Lindh continues to “openly call for extremist violence” and expressed concern over the “security and safety implications” of the decision to release him.
— Robert J. O’Neill (@mchooyah) May 22, 2019
Lindh is thought to have been at least partially responsible for the death of the first American killed in combat during the nearly 18-year war.
Johnny “Mike” Spann, a CIA official, was the first American killed in combat after Lindh did not warn him of a Taliban attack which left him dead.
Originally, Lindh faced 10 different counts- nine were dropped and one was conspiracy to commit murder in connection with Spann’s death.
Senators demand answers over early release of ‘American Taliban’ John Walker Lindh https://t.co/1lvXnCYapx
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) May 22, 2019
Reports claim Lindh met Osama bin Laden at least once during jihadist training, and even reportedly spoke of continuing to advocate for “violent extremism Islam upon his release” as early as last year.
Though Lindh had told authorities in the past he never wanted to kill U.S. officials, lawmakers continue to worry his release may be a mistake.