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Retired Green Beret Strives to Save Afghan Commando Trapped in Turkey Fearing Taliban Retribution

Retired Green Beret Fights to Save Afghan Commando

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Retired Green Beret John Paluska is determined to save his Afghan brother in arms, Habib, from the Taliban. Despite the U.S. withdrawal, Paluska flies to Istanbul to find a pathway to safety for Habib.

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Paluska’s Involvement in the Global War on Terror

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Paluska volunteered at Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks and later joined the Army. He served as a Green Beret and met Habib during his time in Afghanistan.

Habib’s Role in the Joint Operations

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Habib, an intelligence sergeant, played a crucial role in joint operations with the Green Berets. He developed a strong bond with Paluska and risked his life to protect Americans.

Habib’s Devastated Team

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War took a toll on Habib’s team, with nearly half of them dying by the time of the U.S. withdrawal. Habib was left behind during the evacuation, facing the threat of the Taliban.

Habib’s Life Under the Taliban

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Habib’s life changed drastically as he faced the Taliban’s brutal reprisal campaign. He was targeted and his name appeared on Taliban kill lists.

Biometric Data Concerns

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Paluska worries that Habib’s biometric data may be accessible to the Taliban. The Defense Department assures that U.S. biometric devices are secure.

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Paluska’s Support for Habib’s Family

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Paluska has been supporting Habib’s family since August 2021. He provides food, necessities, money, and even medical assistance when needed.

Habib’s Escape to Turkey

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Frustrated by the constant risk, Habib attempted to flee to Turkey in May 2022. He was arrested and detained, but eventually managed to reach Istanbul.

Habib’s Life as an Illegal Refugee

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Habib faces difficulties as an illegal refugee in Turkey, working long hours in poor conditions. He fears being discovered and forcibly returned to Afghanistan by Turkish or Iranian forces.

Paluska’s Efforts in Istanbul

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Paluska arrives in Istanbul to help Habib seek legal protection through the U.S. Embassy. With generous donations, they purchase necessities and a cellphone for Habib.

The Challenges at the U.S. Embassy

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Paluska’s hopes for a legal pathway to safety for Habib are dashed at the U.S. Embassy. Eligibility for special immigrant visas is not available for Afghan military personnel like Habib.

Advocacy for Change

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Advocacy groups highlight the injustice faced by Afghan military personnel without SIV eligibility. Efforts continue to change the policy and provide protection for individuals like Habib.

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