German court acquits Afghan accused of Taliban membership

A German court has acquitted an Afghan charged with having belonged to the Taliban in his homeland after he retracted statements made during his asylum proceedings.

The Stuttgart court on Wednesday acquitted the 22-year-old of membership in a terror organization and violating arms control laws for lack of reliable evidence. He was accused of having spent at least six months with the Taliban in 2013, checking cars at a roadblock and being sent to train as a suicide bomber in Pakistan. He later fled to Germany.

The court said the charges were based entirely on statements the defendant made during an asylum hearing. During the trial, he retracted those statements, saying he had invented his Taliban membership and had hoped to secure refugee status by saying he was persecuted.