BATAVIA: Three Afghan military officers who sought refuge in Canada after taking off from a military training exercise in Massachusetts said Wednesday they were trying to escape Taliban violence at home but now face the wrath of their own government as well.
“Now that we’ve decided to seek asylum, the danger has multiplied,” said Maj. Jan Mohammad Arash, who along with Capt. Noorullah Aminyar and Capt. Mohammed Nasir Askarzada travelled more than 500 miles by taxi from a Wal-Mart on Cape Cod to Niagara Falls.
The three walked across the Rainbow Bridge connecting New York to Ontario, Canada, to claim refugee status on September 22 and were turned over to US authorities, who charged them with immigration violations and began removal proceedings.
“Our pictures are in the newspapers in Afghanistan, Pakistan and all around the world. Now our government has turned against us,” Arash, 49, said inside the federal detention facility outside Buffalo, where they are being held.
All said they feared they would be killed or imprisoned and tortured if returned to Afghanistan.
In interviews with The Associated Press, the three described feeling elated as they took their $1,600 cab ride toward the US-Canadian border, never expecting they would be turned away and handed over to the United States under a US-Canada agreement that requires asylum seekers to apply in the first country they land in…