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Officials: Walker likely back in U.S. this week

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- John Walker, the California resident captured last November fighting with the Taliban in northern Afghanistan, will likely return to the United States within a week, U.S. government officials told CNN on Saturday.

Walker, who has been in U.S. custody since surviving a Taliban prison uprising in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e Sharif last fall, is currently being held by U.S. military personnel on the USS Bataan in the north Arabian Sea.

Military and Justice Department officials have been working in recent days on the details of Walker's transfer into the custody of law enforcement authorities.

The military will likely fly Walker off the U.S. warship to Pakistan or Afghanistan, where he will be turned over the FBI, officials said. FBI agents may also accompany Walker on his flight from the USS Bataan.

Authorities Tuesday charged Walker with four criminal counts in a federal district court in Alexandria, Virginia.

He faces two counts of providing material support or resources to terrorist organizations, including al Qaeda and another group called Harakat ul-Mujahideen; conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals; and engaging in transactions with the Taliban, the ousted regime in Afghanistan.

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft said other charges could be filed against Walker, depending on additional evidence that may be uncovered.

In its criminal complaint, the Justice Department cited an interview Walker gave to CNN after the prison uprising. In the tape, Walker talks about his beliefs, his sympathy for the Taliban and his training.

In an excerpt cited in the complaint, Walker said his "heart became attached" to the Taliban.

But the basis for the indictments came from Walker's statements to FBI investigators, said Ashcroft. Walker signed a waiver of his Miranda rights and agreed to be questioned by an FBI special agent, according to the criminal complaint.

-- CNN's Barbara Starr contributed to this report



 
 
 
 


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