FAST FIVE: 'American Taliban' Free After 17 Years In Prison

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'American Taliban' John Walker Lindh is now a free man after serving over 17 years in prison following his capture on an Afghanistan battlefield in late 2001, three years ahead of schedule for good behavior.  The 38-year-old Lindh was released Thursday from the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana according to the Associated Press, citing the federal Bureau of Prisons.  Due to concerns that Lindh may still harbor radical ideology, a judge recently imposed additional restrictions on his post-release supervision.

Lindh initially opposed the restrictions, but eventually acquiesced.   Probation officers never explained why they sought the restrictions but it is clear that authorities retain misgivings about Lindh.

Shortly after his father left his mother for another man, the culturally appropriating Lindh began to attend San Francisco Bay Area mosques.

After a 10-month trip to Yemen in 1998 to study the Qur'an, Lindh returned home for eight months, only to return to the Middle East – eventually winding up in Afghanistan to take up arms against Northern Alliance fighters in May, 2001.  He was captured on November 25, 2001 and held at an a makeshift prison in Afghanistan, where he would participate in an extremely violent prisoner uprising (the battle of Qala-i-Jangi) that led to the death of CIA officer Johnny “Mike” Spann and hundreds of foreign fighters.

Lindh was one of 86 prisoners who survived after hiding in a basement with a group of detainees who shot at Red Cross workers sent in to collect the dead, killing one.  Spann's family has criticized Lindh's early release.

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