The father explained that Walker Lindh has first become interested in Islam in 1993, and eventually converted when he was 16. His father said, “I thought he had always been a Muslim, and he simply had to find it for himself.”
At the age of 17 he travelled to Yemen where he studied Arabic. In 2000 he made the decision to travel to Pakistan to continue his study of Islam, memorizing the Koran with the aim of becoming a Muslim scholar.
In April 2001, he wrote to his father to tell him he was going into the mountains to get away from the heat. Lindh said, “What he didn't tell us, what we didn't learn until later, was that John was going over the mountains, into Afghanistan, intent on volunteering for military service in the army of Afghanistan.”
He continued, “John received infantry training at a government-run military training camp. But the training camp was funded by Osama bin Laden…John actually saw Osama bin Laden and met him on one occasion. He came away from those encounters very skeptical about bin Laden because John recognized instantly that bin Laden was not an authentic Islamic scholar based on what John himself knows.”
John Walker Lindh was captured in Takhar province in late November 2001.
John was spotted and removed from the body of prisoners for questioning. The moment was recorded on video and later seen by millions on television.
In the video, Lindh sits mutely on the ground as he is questioned about his nationality by a CIA agent Mike Spann later killed by the Taliban.
"Irish? Ireland?" Spann asks.
Walker remains silent.
As shown on British Channel 4 news, Spann then asks Lindh, "Are you a member of the IRA?
"Who brought you here?… You believe in what you are doing that much, you're willing to be killed here?" Spann asks.