Bin Laden’s gone. Can my son come home?

John Walker Lindh’s father calls for his son’s release.

In November 2000, John left Yemen for Pakistan, and the next April, he wrote to me and his mother to say he was going into the mountains of Pakistan for the summer. That was the last we heard from him. Throughout the summer, and especially after 9/11, our family became increasingly worried about John’s whereabouts and his welfare. In December 2001 we were shocked to learn from the news that John had been found among a group of Taliban prisoners who had survived an uprising and massacre at an old fortress near Mazar-i-Sharif.

Like Ernest Hemingway during the Spanish Civil War, John had volunteered for the army of a foreign government battling an insurgency. He thought he could help protect Afghan civilians against brutal attacks by the Northern Alliance warlords seeking to overthrow the Taliban government. His decision was rash and blindly idealistic, but not sinister or traitorous. He was 20 years old.

Before 9/11, the Bush administration was not hostile to the Taliban; barely four months before the attacks it gave $43 million in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. There was nothing treasonous in John’s volunteering for the Afghan Army in the spring of 2001. He had no involvement with terrorism.

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2 thoughts on “Bin Laden’s gone. Can my son come home?

  1. Phil Dennany

    The Bush Administration in fact was in fact very hostile to The Tilaban government prior to 9-11. In fact, according to news reports the US invasion of Afghanistan was planned for mid October 2001 prior to the so called terrorist attacks of 9-11 yet happened. The reason for the attack was the Taliban’s refusal of the US oil long planned oil pipeline they wanted to run through Afghanistan. It is also very curious that there is still no real evidence linking Al-Qaeda or bin Laden to the destruction of 9-11 while here is very much circumstantial evidence linking Israel and their supporters here in the US.

  2. Lisle Hall

    The Bush administration was hostile to the Taliban when it became convenient to be so. Taliban officials were actually hosted here in the US not long before 9/11/01; this below is from Resolution of the Rally Protesting the Visit by an Envoy of the Taliban to the United States, Washington DC, March 20, 2001 —

    1. We Afghan-Americans and friends of Afghanistan are gathered today across the offices of the Atlantic Council of the United States in Washington D.C. to express our outrage at the reception given to a Taliban envoy and advisor to the militia’s leader, Mullah Omar, by the ACUS and other American institutions such as Johns Hopkins’s SAIS and Council on Foreign Relations, at this sensitive juncture when the entire world, including the silenced Afghan nation, is still expressing outrage and condemning the Taliban’s criminal actions in Afghanistan following the deliberate destruction of our ancient cultural heritage and numerous other atrocities and violations.
    * * *
    The plain facts are that we DID host the Taliban and we WERE receptive to them. We were trying to push through that pipeline deal. The pipeline is hugely important in our Afghanistan involvement. Do not forget about current Afghan president Hamid Karzai, who was a CIA contact during the Soviet-Afghan war and — it is usually stated and then equivocated — an employee of Unocal, which was acquired by Chevron (Condi Rice’s company). Connect the dots — our press never will. It’s the oil.

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