The FBI drops charges against an ex-Afghan soldier who crossed the border into Texas

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The federal government has dropped charges against a former Afghan soldier who said he had served with US troops and was arrested and jailed after crossing the southern US border, according to court documents released Monday in the Western District of Texas. submitted.

Abdul Wasi Safi illegally crossed the southern border in late September, after he said he crossed several countries to reach the US and seek asylum.

Although crossing the line between legal entry points is considered a crime under US law and thousands of migrants are released daily without prosecution for committing the same crime, Wasi Safi has been held in federal prison in Eden, Texas, since his arrest and he was on trial in federal court.

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His brother, Sami Safi, a US citizen living in Texas after serving as an interpreter for the US forces in Afghanistan, has strongly advocated for his brother’s release.

Two brothers Sami and Wasi from Afghanistan worked alongside US troops fighting the Taliban from 2010 to 2019, but are now kept separate by the US immigration system. (Thanks to Wasi Safi)

Wasi Safi’s case was first reported by The Texas Tribune. Since then, publicity for the case has increased, most recently when Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, called on him to get a pardon from President Joe Biden.

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The Ministry of Justice has provided little explanation for the charges against Wasi Safi or for the charges being dropped. In lawsuits indicting Wasi Safi, Justice Department lawyers did not argue that Wasi Safi posed a flight risk or a threat to national security, which are typical reasons prosecutors argue that a migrant should be held without bail.

In filing the charges, the Justice Department said it was “in the interests of justice” to “disregard the information” it had submitted against Wasi Safi.

NBC News spoke to the Safi brothers in December.

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“Everyone says, ‘You crossed illegally [the border]”but no one hears my reason,” Wasi Safi said on the phone from the federal prison where he was being held.

Sami Safi said his brother thought if he came to America he would be treated like a hero. He described the harrowing journey his brother made from Brazil to the US after getting a humanitarian visa from Pakistan. He said his brother was not eligible for a special immigrant visa given to many Afghans serving with US troops because he was not paid directly by the US.

Wasi Safi said he served as a special forces intelligence officer in the Afghan National Security Forces.

Afghans who aided the US during Afghanistan’s 20-year war have suffered violent reprisals from the Taliban.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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