John Walker Lindh

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John Phillip Walker Lindh (born February 9, 1981) is an American citizen who was captured as an enemy combatant during the United States' 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. He is now serving a 20-year prison sentence in connection with his participation in Afghanistan's Taliban army. He was captured during the Battle of Qala-i-Jangi, a violent Taliban prison uprising where American CIA officer Johnny "Mike" Spann was killed.

Lindh received training at Al-Farouq, a training camp associated with Al-Qaeda and located in Afghanistan. There, he attended a lecture by Osama bin Laden before the September 11, 2001 attacks. Lindh had previously received training with Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, an internationally designated terrorist organization based in Pakistan.[1][2][3][4]

Lindh went by Sulayman al-Faris during his time in Afghanistan, but prefers the name Abu Sulayman al-Irlandi today.[5] In early reports following his capture, he was usually referred to by the news media as just "John Walker".[6]


Youth, conversion and travels

Lindh was born in Washington, D.C., to parents Marilyn Walker and Frank Lindh. He was baptized but not raised Roman Catholic, and grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland. When he was 10 years old, his family moved to San Anselmo, California.[6] Lindh suffered from an intestinal disorder as a child. At age 14, Lindh's health improved and he enrolled at Redwood High School as a freshman. He then transferred to Tamiscal High School in the Tamalpais Union High School District, an alternative school offering self-directed, individualized study programs. While there, he studied world culture, including Islam and the Middle East.[6] Lindh subsequently left the school and eventually earned an equivalent of a high school diploma by passing the California High School Proficiency Exam at age 16.

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