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Lindh Plea Bargains, to Cooperate With U.S. Officials

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 15, 2002 – As part of his plea bargain signed early today, American Taliban John Walker Lindh has agreed to cooperate with U.S. military officials to combat al Qaeda terrorists.

Lindh, 21, could serve up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to two of 10 charges leveled against him. He pleaded guilty to aiding the Taliban and possessing explosives in the commission of that crime. Had he been convicted of all 10 charges against him, he would have spent life in prison.

Lindh also withdrew charges that he was mistreated while in military custody.

Lindh is to cooperate "fully, truthfully and completely" with the United States, said Justice Department officials. He has agreed to testify at grand juries, trials or other proceedings, including military tribunals.

He has agreed to be available for debriefing by law enforcement and intelligence officers and for pre-trial conferences with government attorneys. Lindh also agreed to take lie detector tests.

Northern Alliance forces captured Lindh Nov. 25, 2001, in Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan, following a Taliban-al Qaeda prison riot.

"By going to Afghanistan and fighting shoulder-to-shoulder alongside the Taliban, John Walker Lindh allied himself with terrorists who reject our values of freedom and democracy and turned his back on the United States of America," Attorney General John Ashcroft said in a written statement.

Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke said the Defense Department would take advantage of any intelligence information Lindh has. She said that information would be fused with other information to develop pictures of the terrorist organization.

In Afghanistan, three special operations members were slightly injured when a CH-47 helicopter on a supply mission landed at a site northeast of Kandahar, said Brig. Gen. John Rosa, a Joint Staff spokesman. He stressed the injuries were minor and resulted from the prop wash blowing around unsecured gear.

Rosa announced an 11-member team led by Air Force Brig. Gen. Tony Przybyslawski has arrived in country to ascertain the facts behind the air attack that killed Afghan civilians in Oruzgan Province.

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