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The 'American Taliban' Has Just 2 More Days in Prison

John Walker Lindh set to be released 3 years early
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 21, 2019 1:54 PM CDT
This undated file photo obtained from a religious school where he studied for five months in Bannu, near Islamabad, Pakistan, shows American-born Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh,.   (AP Photo/File)

(Newser) – Not much has been heard about the man known as the "American Taliban" in recent years. That changed in a big way this week with the news that John Walker Lindh—who was captured in Afghanistan in November 2001 and pleaded guilty to supporting the Taliban—is set to be released from federal prison Thursday. Lindh is currently serving a 20-year sentence in Terre Haute, Indiana, that apparently won't be completed in full. Fox News reports it's believed "good behavior" is behind the release, which will come three years early and be saddled with conditions like this one: He may only communicate in English online. The Washington Post dives into the larger question posed by his looming release: Is the US equipped to welcome citizens who supported Islamic militants back into the fold?

The Post reports that 62 citizens serving time for terror-related crimes are due to be released over the next five years, and it speaks with one extremism expert about America's resources: "There is very close to nothing in terms of de-radicalizing programs at the federal level. The current model is hoping long prison sentences for material support of terrorism will be a deterrent." Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby called the early release "unacceptable" on Twitter and sent the Federal Bureau of Prisons a letter to that end. The first American believed to have died in combat in Afghanistan is Mike Spann of Alabama, who interrogated Lindh just hours before he was killed in a prison revolt. Spann's family blames Lindh for not warning Spann of what was coming, reports Al.com; Lindh maintains he didn't know. (Read more John Walker Lindh stories.)

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