Afghan man who served as US ally detained for 3 months during attempt to seek safety

Mycah Hatfield Image
Saturday, January 14, 2023
Afghan man who served as U.S. ally detained for three months during attempt to seek safety
Wasi Safi, 27, was first detained on Sep. 30 after crossing the U.S. Mexico border in Eagle Pass looking for safety.

An Afghan man who served as an ally for U.S. troops fighting the Taliban has now spent more than three months in a detention center in central Texas.

Wasi Safi, 27, was first detained on Sept. 30 after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in Eagle Pass looking for safety.

His brother, Sami Safi, said he had all of his paperwork to show who he was and that he was part of the Afghan National Security Forces, but he was still taken into custody and slapped with a federal charge for illegally entering the U.S.

"The sacrifice we made in a country that sends death to this country," Sami Safi said. "We stood alongside America, alongside its mission, alongside the troops who came to Afghanistan, so we don't have another 9/11 in America. We stood alongside them and fought till the last day."

When the U.S. removed its troops from Afghanistan, Wasi Safi remained in the country and was forced to hide in fear of his life. Others in his unit who worked for the U.S. were killed, according to his brother.

The 27-year-old spent several months traveling across three continents to get to the U.S. His travels became violent and he was badly beaten at certain points in his journey. He is still suffering from severe physical pain that he said is not being properly addressed in the facility he is being held in Eden, Texas.

"I don't know how I am, but I am OK, ma'am," Wasi Safi told ABC13 reporter Mycah Hatfield over the phone Friday from the detention center.

He expected to be welcomed to the U.S., where he had plans to live with his brother in Houston.

"When I come, ma'am, the first day, they put me in a detention center," Wasi Safi said. "A detention center is like jail, ma'am."

Sami Safi, who served as a translator for U.S. troops in Afghanistan, is now fighting for his brother's release. He said he is very disappointed in how his brother has been treated after risking his life for the U.S. He is fearful of what will happen if he is sent back to face the Taliban who they fought against.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee became involved in the fight after being contacted by Sami Safi.

Thursday, she sent a letter to President Biden asking for Wasi Safi to be pardoned. She said she is not aware if the President had knowledge of the situation prior to her letter but said it was handled like any other case, which are not elevated to that level.

She believes this is the result of a logistical error and said during a news conference on Friday afternoon that she is going to continue to work to untangle the nightmare for the Safi family.

According to the congresswoman, there is an investigation into this situation being conducted by federal law enforcement, and a report should be produced soon.

"It means federal law enforcement is also stunned this happened," Lee said. "If we have all that information, then the wheels can churn."

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