Manatt Secures Asylum for Former Member of Afghan National Army

A Manatt pro bono team successfully secured asylum for a former member of the Afghan National Army who was evacuated from the country after the Taliban took over in 2021.  

Referred to as MA, the client worked as a guard protecting a military base in Kabul and was part of a unit of the Afghan National Army that worked closely with the U.S. military. MA joined the Afghan National Army following secondary school out of loyalty and love for his home country and had always dreamed of being a soldier. MA was airlifted out of Kabul as part of the humanitarian evacuation of Afghan citizens dubbed Operation Allies Refuge. After receiving orders from his commander in August 2021 that he was being evacuated, MA was forced to leave the country without his wife.

During his asylum interviews with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), MA described his experiences in the Afghan National Army defending the base in Kabul and his fear of returning to Afghanistan where he would be tortured or killed due to his service in the Afghan National Army. MA also described the Taliban’s attempts to locate him after he was evacuated, even arresting members of his family. Manatt assisted MA throughout every step of the asylum process, including drafting his declaration, preparing his asylum application, collecting supporting documentation and representing him in nearly eight hours of interview over two days. MA continues to fear for the safety of his wife and family members remaining in Afghanistan forced to live their lives in the shadows because of their connection to him.

Following two rounds of interviews with USCIS, MA was granted asylum. MA is focused on reuniting with his wife and creating a life in the U.S. with her.

The case was referred to Manatt by pro bono partner HIAS. The Manatt team representing MA included Sirena Castillo and Marah Bragdon. Manatt also recently obtained asylum for another veteran of the Afghan National Army and a former member of the Afghanistan Air Force, both referred to the Firm by HIAS.



pursuant to New York DR 2-101(f)

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