Opinion

State Department red tape leaves hero abandoned in Afghanistan

dakota_mayer_war_hero

At a time when the Obama administration is prepared to offer a “pathway to citizenship” to an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants and has even released 622 ICE detainees with criminal records, the visa application of a man instrumental in saving America lives has remained embroiled in a bureaucratic snafu for over three years.

During Afghanistan’s ferocious Battle of Ganjgal, during which Marine Cpl. Dakota Meyer rescued one wounded soldier after another under heavy fire, an Afghan translator known as “Hafez” was at his side doing the same, according to The Washington Free Beacon.

But while Meyer’s actions led him to become the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War, Hafez remains in Afghanistan in fear of his own life by the Taliban he helped defeat that day.

“He stood next to me, by my side pretty much the entire time [during the Battle of Ganjgal],” Meyer, 25, said to the Washington Free Beacon. “He helped me carry my guys out.”

But while Meyer returned home to reward and acclaim, the translator’s visa has been held up for years by the U.S. State Department.

“If we can’t help get this guy back who sacrificed so much to bring these Americans home, I’m sure he’ll be killed,” Meyer said.

According to the Free Beacon:

Hafez (a pseudonym to protect his identity) applied for a visa over three years ago, according to Bing West, the co-author of Meyer’s book “Into the Fire: A Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordi­nary Battle in the Afghan War.”

* * *

Gen. Joseph Dunford, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, signed off on Hafez’s application. The visa was also green-lighted by U.S. Embassy officials in Kabul, said West. The application then went to the U.S. State Department’s visa department for “vetting,” according to West, where it has remained ever since.

“The Taliban are looking for Hafez because he killed several of them in the Ganjigal fight,” West told the Free Beacon.

Hafez’s visa application also includes letters written by by Lt. Col. Dan Yaroslaski, Lt. Col. Anthony J. Healy, Gy. Sgt. R. M. Garza, Maj. William Jelks, and Capt. Timothy Chrisman, all recommending its approval.

Hafez informed Meyer Monday in an email that the security situation in his locale is worsening. “Every night I am guarding to protect me self and my family,” he wrote Meyer.

“It wasn’t just Ganjgal, it was everyday,” said Meyer. “[Hafaz] showed up to be a team player, you know? He showed up because he cared. He showed up because he was passionate about his country. He showed up to help protect us, as Americans.”

It’s past time for the United States to return the favor and “show up” to protect the man that protected so many Americans.

Powered by Topple

Comments

Latest Articles