NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An Afghani man’s heroism inspired a movie as he risked it all to save in American, but he himself has become the one in need.
As CBS2’s Scott Rapoport reported, Mohammed Gulab is a simple Afghani villager, but he is as brave a hero as there is. Just ask Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, whose life Gulab saved at great personal peril.
“He very well could have just left me laying there on the side of that waterfall and let me die,” Luttrell told “60 Minutes” in December 2013. “But he didn’t.”
The remarkable story was depicted in the movie “Lone Survivor.” Four Navy SEALs were trapped in an extraordinarily hellish firefight in the mountains of northeastern Afghanistan in 2005. Three of the SEALs were killed.
Luttrell was the only survivor. But he had been shot twice, and suffered several cracked vertebrae and shrapnel wounds in his leg.
Alone and certain he was dying, he was discovered by Gulab, who took him to his village and protected him from the Taliban.
“I knew I had to help him; to do the right thing, because he was in a lot of danger,” Gulab said through a translator on “60 Minutes.”
Luttrell was ultimately rescued by American forces and made it home. But now, it is Gulab who needs help.
After aiding Luttrell, Gulab and his family had to go into hiding. They were threatened with death letters from the Taliban.
He said his house was burned down and his cousin was killed.
“They attacked him. They shot him. They’ve put RPG’s through his household,” said New York immigration attorney Michael Wildes. “He’s been living and hiding, and never in the same place in the same evening.”
Wildes said he is working pro bono to bring Gulab and his family to the United States, and to grant him asylum.
He has so far been able to help extract Gulab and some family members from Afghanistan to a neutral, undisclosed country. He said it happened last Saturday.
But Wildes said getting asylum for Gulab and his family in the U.S. has proven delicate and complicated.
“That means the UN. That means Homeland Security. That means a lot of officials have to sign off on this,” Wildes said. “I’m prayerful that they will.”
Wildes said ultimately, the Department of Homeland Security will make the call.
Ironically, Gulab has been to the U.S. before. He has occasionally visited Marcus Luttrell on his Texas ranch as recently as a few years ago.
Wildes said Gulab probably could have stayed back then.
“When he was here, he should have applied for asylum,” Wildes said. “This would have been a moot effort had he just remained here.”
CBS2 reached out to the Department of Homeland Security for comment, and has not heard back.
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