The Fight of His Life

Captain Noorullah Aminyar was an Afghan Army special ops commander, the leader of the Mobile Strike Force that crisscrossed the country conducting raids. “The Americans told me, your company is the strongest company,” he said. “We did successful operations in that place, by air and by land. And the Taliban was not able to stand against us.”

But then the Taliban learned his name, the names of his children, his village, his home. In 2014, when Aminyar was in the United States for training, they attacked his family. His father called to warn him.”They are looking for you,” his father told Aminyar over the phone, “and if you return back they will kill you.”

So Aminyar tried to flee to Canada, with two other Afghan Army officers. He was taken into custody and held at the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility for three years while his claim ground through the immigration courts. I visited him there in April 2017, to hear his story. The challenge of his case is this: His claim rests on the argument that the US has lost the war in Afghanistan.

Read the whole story in Esquire. And thank you to the editors at Longreads, who named it one of their top picks.

UPDATE: Aminyar was granted asylum at his final hearing, on August 22nd. Read that story here.