This Aug. 7, 2014, photo shows the Rainbow Bridge, which connects Niagara Falls, N.Y. and Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. Three Afghanistan National Army officers who went missing during a training exercise at a Cape Cod military base were detained Monday, Sept. 22, 2014, at the U.S.-Canadian border, officials said. DAN CAPPELLAZZO/THE NIAGARA (NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y.) GAZETTE VIA AP
BUFFALO, N.Y. — An immigration judge denied asylum Friday for an Afghan military officer who sneaked away from a U.S. training exercise in Massachusetts to avoid returning to Afghanistan, where he said he had been threatened by the Taliban.
The judge ruled that Maj. Jan Arash did not qualify for certain protections because the Taliban is not a government, his lawyer said, nor had he proven that he would be persecuted, rather than legally prosecuted, by the Afghan government.
“If he gets deported and hung for desertion, that’s OK under the law,” attorney Matthew Borowski said.
“We have no choice but to appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals,” the attorney said. The process could take several months.
In the meantime, Arash will continue to be held at the Buffalo Federal Detention Center, where the asylum case was heard.
Arash is one of three Afghan military officers who were detained in September after being denied entry into Canada, where they had planned to seek refugee status.
One of the soldiers, Capt. Mohammad Nasir Askarzada, was allowed into Canada in December after proving he had relatives there…