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An Afghan soldier fleeing the Taliban spent months reaching the U.S. to request asylum. He was arrested at the Texas border.

Abdul Wasi Safi was trying to reach his brother, who immigrated legally to Houston after helping the U.S. military. Legal experts say Wasi may have to serve a criminal sentence before he can pursue asylum.

Abdul Wasi Safi stands in the foreground of Afghan military vehicles surrounded by HESCO barriers and concrete bunkers.
Abdul Wasi Safi, second from left, stands with his hands behind his back at ease for a photo with others in his Afghan special forces unit. He wears the rank and insignia of a Dvahomi baridman, or second lieutenant.
Sami-ullah Safi a group photo from his brother’s Indian Military Academy class in his home in Houston on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022.

Escaping the Taliban

Surviving the Darién Gap

A group of migrants traversing through the Darien Gap with Abdul Wasi Safi rest on rocks while drying their feet.

Arrested at the border

Sami-ullah Safi sorts through dozens of certificates and photos to pick up his brother’s ID card in his home in Houston on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022.

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