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U.S. getting information from captured American

John Walker, an American convert to Islam, told CNN he joined the Taliban about six months ago.  

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- An American who fought with Taliban forces has provided useful information to U.S. authorities, the top U.S. general said Sunday.

Gen. Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said 20-year-old John Walker is not a prisoner of war, but his final status has not been determined.

"He's being given medical treatment," Myers said. "He's being fed and cared for, and, in fact, he's even had a visit, I think, by the Red Cross. So we're taking care of him, I think, in the way we should, and the future disposition will have to be determined."

Walker, an American convert to Islam and self-described "jihadi," was in U.S. custody Sunday at a Marine base in southern Afghanistan. Justice Department lawyers are examining what charges could be brought against Walker or any other U.S. citizen who fought for al Qaeda or the Taliban.

"I think evidence is pretty strong that he was right in the middle of it," Myers said of Walker's role with Taliban fighters.

Correspondent Rick Leventhal reports from Camp Rhino, Afghanistan where John Walker is in custody (December 8)

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But officials say Walker has been reasonably cooperative and talkative.

"I know when he was first interviewed he told us quite a bit that was of some value," Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said on CNN's "Late Edition."

Walker told CNN he was a student in Pakistan when he became involved with the Taliban about six months ago.

"He's been pretty close to the action, and I think he has provided, at least from the Afghan viewpoints, some useful information and probably will continue to do so," Myers said.

Walker was one of about 80 Taliban fighters who survived a bloody uprising among Taliban prisoners near Mazar-e Sharif. Northern Alliance put down the uprising with the aid of U.S. warplanes, but hundreds of prisoners and a CIA officer, Mike Spann, were killed.

A videotape recorded shortly before the uprising broke out showed Spann trying to question Walker.

"Do you know the people here you're working with are terrorists and killed other Muslims?" Spann asked in footage that ABC and CBS broadcast Friday. "There were several hundred Muslims killed in the bombing in New York City. Is that what the Koran teaches? I don't think so. Are you going to talk to us?"

Walker did not respond to the questions, which an Afghan cameraman captured on videotape.

U.S. officials Friday released a list of six possible charges, including treason, murder and conspiracy, that Walker could face. Most carry a possible death sentence upon conviction.

James Brosnahan, an attorney for Walker's family, appealed Friday for the U.S. government to allow Walker's parents to see their son.

"They are anxious to know how John is doing. We have renewed our previous request to the government to know what John's condition is and to visit him without delay," Brosnahan said in a statement. "Thus far, John's parents have received no official word as to John's physical health, mental state or even his whereabouts."


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