John Walker Lindh
One of the most unusual Taliban fighters on record, Washington D.C. born John Walker Lindh came to national attention after being captured by American troops in Afghanistan in November of 2001. After a normal suburban upbringing, his family moved to Marin County, California when he was 10. At age 12, John Walker Lindh first became in the religion of Islam after watching the movie "Malcolm X" and converted to the religion five years later in 1997.
In 1998, John Walker Lindh continued to pursue his interest in his new religion by traveling to Yemen in 1998. He studied there for nine months or so, returned home to California, and then returned to Yemen in February of 2000. In October, he went to Pakistan and subsequently became involved with the Islamic terror group al Qaeda. During his training, he met Osama Bin Laden.
However, following al Qaeda's attacks on America on September 11, 2001, John Walker Lindh regretted his decision to join al Qaeda. In his telling, he was fearful of the consequences if he left. Subsequently captured along with other al Qaeda members by Afghanistan Northern Alliance forces cooperating with American military forces, John Walker Lindh came to the attention of a CNN reporter, who was the first to discover that he was actually an American citizen.
While in American custody, John Walker Lindh was involved in a series of violent fights between Taliban prisoners rising up against their military captors. When the uprising was put down, John Walker Lindh began a series of transfers between various military facilities and prisons. In 2002, he was indicted by a grand jury on a number of charges related to terrorism and conspiracy to murder American subjects.
However, the prosecution of John Walker Lindh became more complicated when it was found that some of the testimony he had given could be perceived as having been resulted during torture, and hence inadmissable. To find a compromise solution, the head of the U.S. Department of Justice proposed that John Walker Lindh be offered a plea bargain. As part of these claims, John Walker Lindh would be prohibited from profiting in any way from books or other media related to the charges against him and would be required to drop any allegations that he had been tortured by any American government officials.
John Walker Lindh agreed to accept the terms of the proposed plea bargain. Following sentencing, John Walker Lindh began serving a 10 year sentence in 2003. In 2010, John Walker Lindh returned to headlines when he sued the Federal Bureau of Prisons, claiming that his right to conduct group Islamic prayers was being violated. In response, the Federal Bureau of Prisons claimed that these actions posed a security risk. The case came to trial in 2012 and has yet to achieve a resolution. John Walker Lindh is scheduled to be released in 2019.