The documentary dives into the mysteries that led a young American man, who became known as the “American Taliban,” to the battlefield in Afghanistan fighting alongside the people who were supposed to be his enemy.
Lindh pleaded guilty in 2002 for aiding the Taliban and his role in the uprising that led to the first American casualty of the war in Afghanistan, CIA officer Johnny Micheal Spann, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. He was released on probation in 2019 after serving 17 years of his sentence.
Barker did not interact with Lindh directly for the project but he did engage with members of his family during production. His current whereabouts are unknown.
“I’ve made a lot of films about our post-9/11 era, but for me, the surreal story of John Walker Lindh remains the most haunting and mysterious,” said Barker in a statement.
“Over the four years we made this film, I came to see Lindh’s journey as a kind of origin story for our post-9/11 world, and a cautionary tale of how the toxic mix of xenophobia, undemocratic behavior, and distortions of justice can devalue the very foundations of our society. Plus, this story is also a documentary filmmaker’s dream— packed with incredible archival footage and a gripping true story from the almost-forgotten past that speaks directly to the world we live in today.”
Watch the trailer for Detainee 001 above.