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Afghan who quit training granted asylum

South Carolina residents were mesmerized by the story of three officers of the Afghanistan National Army when they were found attempting to flee the United States to Canada from a military training museum in September 2014. One of the three was just granted asylum after a long legal path.

The three were United States military guests at an event in Massachusetts. They disappeared one night but were arrested two days later as they attempted to cross a bridge from New York to Ontario. The three officers were placed into removal proceedings. One of the officers petitioned for asylum.

The officer's petition was originally denied because the immigration court found that the Taliban is not a government and so it did not fall under political asylum laws. However, the officer hired an immigration attorney who appealed the case to the Board of Immigration Appeals. On June 25, it ruled that the officer should receive asylum. It based its decision on the idea that the Taliban is a political resistance group and that the Afghan government is not willing or able to control the Taliban. The Board concluded that the officer would be subject to political targeting based on his work in the army. One of the other officers also applied for asylum. The officer is set to be granted full asylum if routine background checks go smoothly. One of the other officers is also fighting removal, and the officer's appeal may influence the decision reached in the other's case.

Individuals who have been apprehended for immigration violations may choose to discuss their options with an immigration attorney. Legal counsel may be able to evaluate the case and make recommendations on what type of relief to pursue based on these circumstances.

Source: CNN, "Afghan soldier who fled training in United States granted asylum", Lawrence Crook III, June 30, 2015

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