HOUSTON (AP) – In the months he was held in detention in Texas during his legal fight to remain in the United States (US), Afghan soldier Abdul Wasi Safi thought he would eventually be returned to his home country and meet a likely death at the hands of the Taleban because of his work with the US military.
But on Friday, he stood a free man, filled with hope that the help he provided the US military will ultimately help him secure asylum in the US.
Amid hugs from his brother and lawyers, Wasi Safi proudly smiled as he received an award from one of his supporters, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a Democrat from Houston that honoured his military service to the US.
He said he hoped that would be a harbinger of things to come for him in his new life in the US.
“I am hopeful about the next step in this process and one day being able to live the American dream,” Wasi Safi said at a news conference in Houston For the past few months, Wasi Safi, 27, had been jailed by federal authorities after being arrested while crossing the US-Mexico border in September near Eagle Pass, Texas.
An intelligence officer for the Afghan National Security Forces, he had fled Afghanistan following the withdrawal of US forces in August 2021, fearing reprisals from the Taleban.
Wasi Safi had been facing a federal immigrant charge. But a judge on Monday dropped the count at the request of prosecutors.
He was freed from a detention centre in Eden, Texas, on Wednesday and was reunited with his brother, Sami-ullah Safi, 29, who goes by Sami and lives in Houston.