(MSM) John Walker Lindh, the first person to be convicted of a crime in the “War on Terror,” left prison a free man Thursday after 17 years behind bars, his lawyer confirmed.

The Northern California native was captured months into the fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan, a war that has now lasted longer than his incarceration. The revelation that a young American had joined the group that harbored the 9/11 terrorists was a national shock.

Lindh pleaded guilty in 2002 to aiding the Taliban and carrying weapons. Prosecutors were unable to prove, however, that he went beyond fighting the Taliban’s Afghan enemies by aiding terrorists or trying to kill Americans.

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.