German Who Joined Taliban Sentenced to 6 Years in Jail by Court of Düsseldorf, Germany

In late November, German press agency Deutschland Welle followed the story of Thomas K., the German man who was a member of Taliban.

Thomas K, a Poland-born German citizen had been accused of membership in a foreign terrorist organization (Taliban) which is a violation of Germany’s ‘ War Weapons Control Act’, as well as attempted murder, and led him to face a trial in Germany.

When he first spoke, the Thomas K. pointed out that he suffers from “schizophrenia and depressive episodes.”

The two experts in Germany who examined K. extensively in process of his trial, however, have come to a different conclusion. According to their final report, Thomas K. suffers from a “combined personality disorder with schizoid features”, that is, he finds contacts with others challenging and has difficulty acknowledging and being aware of his own feelings.

In August 2012, Thomas K. left for Karachi in Pakistan, carrying a return ticket in order to disguise his plans. In a region bordering Afghanistan, he then joined the Taliban.

Five and a half years later, in February 2018, Thomas K. was arrested in the southern Afghan province of Helmand during a night raid by Afghan and US soldiers. His weapons were also seized.

He was consequently questioned for several weeks, first at Bagram Air Base north of Kabul, then in the capital.

In April, officers from Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Agency (BKA) picked him up and brought him back to Germany.
The BKA had already issued a warning about Thomas K. in late 2014. At the time, the UN mission in Kabul spread the warning via circular mail. It said that “German passport holder Thomas K. may well approach international compounds, possibly to conduct a suicide attack.”

After his arrest in February, Afghan authorities suspected that they were dealing with a Taliban “military adviser.”

Although, German media headlines referred to Thomas K. as a “Taliban terrorist” and “presumed Taliban elite fighter.”

Thomas K. interprets jihad as a “Muslim version of German military service”, psychiatrist Leygraf explained in the German court at Düsseldorf.
Thomas K. wanted to support the Taliban’ s “struggle for liberation,” as he regards them not as a terrorist organization but a “civil war party.” The expert adds that Thomas K. had not shown any sense of guilt.

Thomas K. even joined up with the Haqqani network, a group that planted the truck-bomb attack on the German Embassy in Kabul on May 31, 2017, in which more than 150 people were killed.

Thomas K.’s name appeared on a list of potential suicide bombers as well. He admits in court that he wanted to build a ‘remote-controlled vehicle’ to orchestrate an attack on a US military convoy. He underwent driving training, having fun “speeding on gravel roads” he claims.

At the end of the fifth day of the trial, presiding Judge Lutz Bachler addressed the defendant directly. “I am going out on a limb here, we don’t regard you as a top terrorist,” but “let’s face it, you didn’t just steal plums, either.” The sentence will depend on the credibility of German Taliban member Thomas K.

Düsseldorf court on Monday found the 37-year-old German man guilty of fighting for the Taliban and sentenced him to six years in prison.

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