- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 6, 2001

After Northern Alliance troops corralled several hundred Taliban soldiers near Kunduz, the prisoners were confined in the the Qalai Janghi fortress. But the Northern Alliance troops carelessly failed to search their prisoners. On Nov. 25, the prisoners revolted using hidden weapons to overcome guards. One of them armed a grenade concealed in his clothes and threw himself on CIA officer John "Mike" Spann, killing them both. Three days after the Northern Alliance suppressed the revolt, about 80 Taliban soldiers were discovered hiding in a cellar. Among them was a 20-year-old man who identified himself as "Abdul Hamid."

It turns out that Abdul Hamid is one John Walker of California. He apparently left the United States years ago to study Islam, traveled the region and settled in Afghanistan. More importantly, Mr. Walker joined the Taliban soldiers fighting the Northern Alliance and its ally, the United States. When captured, he delivered himself of the opinion that the September 11 attacks were just peachy and said that he joined the Taliban because he wanted to live under what he considered the purest Islamic regime in the world. Now, Mr. Walker and his parents remind us that he is an American citizen and are pleading for him to be "understood." By all means, let us understand him.

If Mr. Walker is still an American citizen which, for now, is very much in doubt he may be guilty of treason.Article 3, Section 3 of the Constitution and federal law state that any American who levies war against the United States or adheres to and helps their enemies, is guilty of treason. Conviction for treason can only be upon the evidence of at least two witnesses testifying to an overt act, or on confession. Under federal law, anyone who as part of the treasonous act knowingly creates a grave risk of death to another may be sentenced to death. Shooting at someone would seem to meet that criterion.

But Mr. Walker may no longer be a U.S. citizen. Under U.S. law some actions, like taking an oath of allegiance to a foreign government like the Taliban, may be an "expatriating act" depriving Mr. Walker/Hamid of his citizenship. Joining the army of a hostile power, even the Taliban rabble, may also have deprived him of his right to claim American citizenship. If Mr. Walker is found to have lost his citizenship, he should be left with the other Taliban prisoners in the custody of the Northern Alliance. And may he have the same luck his comrades-in-arms will at the hands of their captors.

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