Manatt Secures Asylum for Afghanistan Air Force Veteran

A Manatt pro bono team successfully secured asylum for a client who fled Afghanistan after the Taliban took over in 2021. 

Referred to as AJ, the client was a member of the Afghanistan Air Force participating in a training program outside of Afghanistan when the Taliban took control. Fearful and unable to return to his home country due to his involvement with the Afghanistan Air Force, AJ, along with his classmates, was evacuated and brought to the United States.  

AJ’s decision to serve in the Afghan Air Force stemmed from his pride for Afghanistan and his desire to help build up the country from past destruction by the Taliban. Being away when the government collapsed was extremely difficult for AJ, as he was—and continues to be—scared for the future of his wife and siblings, who remain in Afghanistan, and the fate of his country under Taliban rule.  

In a detailed declaration and during his asylum interview with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), AJ described his experiences in the Afghanistan Air Force and his beliefs in democracy, equality, free speech and educational freedom for girls and women. He also described reports of the Taliban’s horrific actions against members of the Afghanistan Air Force who remained in the country. The Manatt team assisted AJ through every step of the asylum process, including drafting his declaration, preparing his asylum application, collecting supporting documentation and representing him at his asylum interview. 

Less than two months following his interview with USCIS, AJ was granted asylum. He is looking forward to building a new life in the U.S and hopes to be reunited with his wife soon.   

The case was referred to Manatt by pro bono partner HIAS. The Manatt team representing AJ included Associate Catherine Larson, Pro Bono Attorney Alexandra McCown and Partner Craig de Recat



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