By JULIE WATSON, Related Press
Military fight veteran Spencer Sullivan has by no means felt extra victorious.
Sullivan spent years preventing to get his Afghan translator asylum after his former platoon’s different interpreter was denied a U.S. visa earlier than being killed by the Taliban in 2017.
On Wednesday, Abdulhaq Sodais was lastly granted asylum by a court docket in Germany, the place he was pressured to flee after being denied a U.S. visa repeatedly regardless of going through demise threats for aiding U.S. troops throughout its 20-year struggle in Afghanistan.
Sullivan, who now lives in Virginia, mentioned he dropped his cellphone when he noticed the textual content message from Sodais.
“I simply began crying,” Sullivan mentioned.
The choice marked the tip of an eight-year journey between the 2 males who risked their lives collectively making an attempt to remove the Taliban, bonding in a method that may solely be cast in struggle.
Sullivan devoted himself to serving to Sodais after shedding one other translator, Sayed Masoud, who was killed by the Taliban in 2017 whereas ready for a U.S. visa. The previous soldier is amongst scores of U.S. fight veterans who’ve been engaged on their very own to rescue the Afghans who served alongside them.
“It’s in the end simply cathartic reduction,” Sullivan mentioned of the Germany court docket’s resolution, who mentioned he was overwhelmed with emotion partially as a result of it additionally opened the struggle wound that he could not assist Masoud. “This lengthy journey is over however Sayed didn’t make it.”
Hundreds of Afghans who aided U.S. troops have spent years caught in a backlogged and beleaguered U.S. Particular Immigrant Visa program, and numerous others have been denied due to minor inconsistencies of their work information, similar to exhibiting up late to their jobs, in accordance with veterans who labored with them.
Sodais first utilized for a U.S. visa in 2013 however was denied. He appealed 4 instances earlier than in the end fleeing to Germany after his uncle was beheaded and his neighbor who labored for the U.S. army was gunned down by the Taliban.
Sodais traveled for seven months going via practically a half dozen nations. He was overwhelmed and deserted by smugglers and jailed and overwhelmed by police earlier than reaching Germany, the place his first asylum request was denied.
Sullivan wrote letters of advice, offered images of his time along with his platoon and obtained information from the U.S. authorities that confirmed his denial was primarily based on a questionable evaluate by a civilian contractor who Sodais mentioned falsely accused him of checking social media on the job.
On Aug. 11, Germany quickly halted the deportation of all Afghans as a result of upheaval however didn’t specify how lengthy the order would final. Sodais mentioned he believes Sullivan’s letters of advice made the distinction in lastly being granted asylum. His case shall be reviewed in three years when he can then apply to grow to be a German citizen.
Sodais mentioned he seems ahead to getting his German passport so he can sometime go to Sullivan in the US.
“I am feeling proper now that I’ll have a tremendous future,” he mentioned.
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