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Afghan pilot who saved US airmen in hiding from Taliban after Pentagon denied refuge

Decorated Afghan pilot who saved US airmen is in hiding from Taliban after Pentagon REVERSED approval to bring him and his wife and daughter to America just hours before the move

  • Mohammed Naiem Asadi killed more Taliban than anyone in Afghan air force
  • The flier, 32, fears retribution against his family from Taliban and government
  • His request to move to the US was approved but was later withdrawn by officials 
  • Asadi, his wife, and daughter, 4, remain in hiding in Afghanistan 

A decorated Afghan helicopter pilot who killed more Taliban than anyone else in the air force is in hiding after the Pentagon reversed its decision to allow him to move to the US.

Maj. Mohammed Naiem Asadi, 32, is seeking refuge along with his wife and daughter, four, because they are in ‘imminent danger of being killed by the Taliban’, documents show.

In early October, the Citizenship and Immigration Service, and the Defense Department, approved his request.

Maj. Mohammed Naiem Asadi, 32, is in hiding after the Pentagon reversed its decision to allow him to move to the US

But hours before they were due to move to the US on October 28, Asadi’s family was told the decision had been reversed and the Pentagon had withdrawn its endorsement, Stars and Stripes reported. 

The military changed its mind after senior leaders objected that the decision had been made without their approval, a DOD official said.

On Friday, the US military confirmed it had withdrawn support for Asadi.

The decision shocked one of the officers who has supported Asadi and had promised to host his family when he moved to the US.

Bryan B. McAlister, a former army pilot who was also Asadi’s advisor, said: ‘The family was about to travel to the US in good faith, that they had followed the proper process, and been approved. 

‘Who is going to finally do the right thing, and let them come to the United States, where the American people are ready to receive and care for them?’

Asadi said he cannot return to his old life out of fear of retribution from the Taliban and the Afghan government.

The flier is said to have killed more Taliban than any other pilot in the Afghan Air Force, logging thousands of flight hours.

He also protected a US pilot who had crashed his A-29 Super Tucano attack turboprop this summer, according to a letter of recommendation which was signed by Air Force Captain Robert V. Yost.

The major led a flight of two MD-530 attack helicopters, scrambling to protect the site in a Taliban-contested area and his swift action was crucial to the pilot’s rescue.

The Pentagon's decision shocked one of the officers who has supported Asadi and had promised to host his family when he moved to the US.

The Pentagon’s decision shocked one of the officers who has supported Asadi and had promised to host his family when he moved to the US.

The flier is said to have killed more Taliban than any other pilot in the Afghan Air Force, logging thousands of flight hours (file image)

The flier is said to have killed more Taliban than any other pilot in the Afghan Air Force, logging thousands of flight hours (file image)

But his heroic actions have led to threats at home, including letters and phone calls.

At one point, the Taliban even demanded Asadi’s father hand over his son or the entire family would be killed.

The airman had applied to move to the US under Significant Public Benefit Parole which is a temporary status for noncitizens who need protection.

He also hoped to apply for asylum to remain in the US, but the process can take yers.

Asadi passed a number of background checks, documents show, and the Pentagon endorsed his application on October 5.

But on the day he was packing to leave, he was told his appointment at the US Embassy had been cancelled without reason. 

Asadi is now in hiding in Afghanistan under US protection with his family.

He said: ‘I cannot go backward. ‘And I cannot go forward, because I am not allowed to go forward.’

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