The U.S. Embassy in Kabul has requested that Gulab be granted refugee status so he can apply for asylum. At the urging of several Marine commanders, Gulab received some cash and a job at the base in Asadabad. "If you like the kebab here, I will buy a sheep and slaughter it myself. Not long after he moved to Fort Worth, he tried contacting Luttrell, but he never heard back. (The interpreter declined to comment for this story. Before they parted once again, this time in Houston, Gulab says Luttrell promised to hold a fundraiser for him and the other villagers who had saved him. From his position, he couldn't connect, so he sat on a small rock out in the open, making one last attempt. Luttrell was the sole survivor of a four-man team the Taliban ambushed during a mission to kill Ahmad Shah, one of its leaders. In 2008, in a rare display of bipartisanship, Congress created a system to bring over Iraqi and Afghan translators, office workers and other American allies. Later, Yousafzai reached out to Gulab and asked what had happened. Months passed with little progress, but the lawyer asked me not to write anything about Gulab's predicament. The Afghan man who risked his life to save Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell in 2005 is now seeking asylum in the U.S. due to increased threats on his life by the Taliban.. Mohammed Gulab … Over the course of several months, Gulab saw the film three times. Gulab and his son seem nervous. Little, Brown won the book at auction with a seven-figure advance, according to The New York Times, and it became a major success. He said goodbye to his country forever. But his friend advised against it. Gulab recalls the translator telling him not to worry about it and saying, "Whatever [Luttrell] says, he will do.". Since they'd last seen each other, the former SEAL had become an entrepreneur, launching his own clothing line (and later his own brand of ammunition called Team Never Quit). So in early 2013, the former SEAL sent him an intriguing message through a new interpreter, a fellow Pashtun. Fazilhaq found Gulab and his sons an apartment—a small room and bathroom with no kitchen—and helped them register with the U.N. refugee agency. Gulab, Spies learned from the second person associated with Luttrell, was furious, swearing "in the name of Allah" that he had never talked to Yousafzai. The next morning, they began searching for the SEAL's distinctive footprints. Shahidullah says. But about a month after his last conversation with Luttrell, Gulab says the interpreter abruptly announced it was time to return to Houston, and they did. He's grateful to Robinson for writing the book but feels he hasn't been properly compensated. Anyone who has seen “Lone Survivor” can’t help but be captivated by the honor displayed by The prospects for his illiterate friend and his sons were much worse. Luttrell went on to write the best-selling memoir, Lone Survivor. The former SEAL appeared to be taking a big cut for Gulab's story. "Stomach acid," he says. Gulab, in his apartment in Fort Worth, Texas, holds a photo of Luttrell taken during their confrontation with a Taliban-linked militia. As we bump over the road, I see signs advertising Tiger Cabaret, a local gentleman's club, and "an evening with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis." The entire tribe refused to give in to the Taliban's demands to turn Luttrell … America, he felt, had a moral obligation to bring them to the States, so he started a nonprofit and began working with lawmakers. I was puzzled, because I knew that wasn't true. "I was 100 percent sure the U.S. government would give me a green card," he says. R.M. Gulab had saved the life of a Navy SEAL, but no one, he felt, would ever come to his rescue. See more ideas about Marcus luttrell, Lone survivor, Navy seals. It not only signed away his rights to review the manuscript but also indicated he had to split the profits three ways. Soon after Gulab returned to Asadabad, his life was again thrown into turmoil. Most of the differences were minor. You have 4 free articles remaining this month, Sign-up to our daily newsletter for more articles like this + access to 5 extra articles. The translator, he recalls, pushed harder. More puzzling: While Luttrell wrote that he fired round after round during the battle, Gulab says the former SEAL still had 11 magazines of ammunition when the villagers rescued him—all that he had brought on the mission. As the weeks passed, Gulab started to feel that he'd been used. "No Taliban!" The next day, he wrote, he stumbled upon a waterfall, where he drank a bit and cleaned his wounds. Due to bureaucratic logjams, "we have applicants who have waited for five years, coming up on six years," says Lara Finkbeiner, the deputy legal director at the International Refugee Assistance Project. Taliban threats against Gulab escalated last year after many Afghans saw "Lone Survivor," which includes a picture of the real Gulab with Marcus Luttrell, the now-retired Navy Seal he aided. He still hadn't heard from Luttrell and wanted to fly to Houston to hash things out. Some eight years later, Luttrell couldn't change what happened to Murphy, but he still had Gulab, a man he now called his brother in blood. True to his word, Robinson sent Gulab $15,000—one-third of the advance. Luttrell helped too. Gulab says Luttrell kept trying and even promised him money. He raised more than $30,000 with a fundraiser, and sent the money in installments over the next three years to the Afghan's bank. They accused Yousafzai of fabricating the interview, for which Gulab was outraged. That's when a few Afghan villagers appeared before him. Gulab says Luttrell asked him to give $13,000 to the other villagers, which he says he did. For days, Gulab and the other villagers protected Luttrell from the militants—even in the face death threats. Under a canopy of stars, they squatted behind a barricade and fired toward the gate, their bullets sparking in the darkness when they hit stones. Now that Gulab was back in Afghanistan, however, his options were limited. "If he had waited…to save a Navy SEAL, Marcus Luttrell never would have survived.". It's an absurd thought, but Gulab's son is worried. Gulab felt betrayed. "I love you," Luttrell said at one point during the interview with Cooper, throwing a meaty arm around his Afghan friend. Gulab was furious. Earlier that morning, I had purchased a copy of Robinson's book about Gulab, The Lion of Sabray, published late last fall. When darkness fell, the SEAL started walking. Mohammad Gulab … A Boeing AH-64 Apache. "My head was spinning," he says, "and everything turned to black and white.". The militants responded with a barrage of bullets. "At the same time, everyone back home wanted a piece of him.". Then the Afghan and his sons boarded a flight from Kabul to New Delhi. That fall, the Taliban's "shadow governor" in Kunar province sent Gulab a written threat. His wife was clinically depressed, but with Fazilhaq's assistance, he found a doctor to treat her. Gulab says he's still looking for a job (and the relief agency is helping him), but his English is rudimentary, despite several months of classes. "There are a lot of bad people trying to cheat [refugees]," says Ziaulhaq Fazilhaq, a 28-year-old Afghan who befriended Gulab in New Delhi. "This is the most rigorous review on the face of the planet," Johnson says. Luttrell emptied his clips, determined to go down fighting despite his injuries, till he fell into a river and lost consciousness. That night, Gulab and his sons packed their clothes into two small suitcases and prepared to leave the country. The Afghan hadn't worked for the U.S. military long enough to qualify for the Special Immigrant Visa program. They then spoke by phone, Wildes said, and he agreed to take the case pro bono. Robinson says he interviewed Gulab extensively, took notes and double-checked details with the interpreter, but as with Lone Survivor, he didn't record the interviews. He says he wanted to stay in the United States, to look for a house in Texas and try and bring his family over. To continue reading login or create an account. Everything he wrote in his book is absolutely true. "We need to herald this guy, and give him a red carpet to America," Wildes said. But thanks to the lawyer and one of his contacts, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul sent a recommendation to the State Department, saying it was in the U.S. national interest to settle Gulab in America. The most frightening attack came on a hot night in the fall of 2014. He was the head of a small Taliban-linked militia. About 10 days after he got off the plane, he spoke to a friend in Kunar province. He uncovered a bevy of discrepancies in Luttrell's account. They had something important to discuss. He said Department of Homeland Security and State Department officials are reviewing a request by the U.S. Embassy in Kabul to grant Gulab refugee status so he can apply for asylum. A former interpreter for the U.S. military, Fazilhaq had been living in India for over a year when he met Gulab. The SEALs were dropped in the "bad and barren" mountains to hunt for a Taliban leader "known to be one of Osama bin Laden's closest associates," Luttrell wrote. I tried to make my way up to him…. And once he crossed the border, Wildes worried how he would support his wife and kids. His dream is to start a family business, so he can once again be his own boss. Now he appeared to indicate Murphy alone decided to let the goat herders go. Then I will know how your Jewish friends cannot save or protect you.". They gave him thousands of dollars to help the family move to Jalalabad. Gulab's lawyer, Michael Wildes, with another client, Mohammed al-Khilewi, a Saudi diplomat who sought asylum in the U.S., in 1994. ", Luttrell was busy promoting the movie, but the Afghan enjoyed spending time with him when he could. Saving Luttrell was an extraordinary act of courage, and it destroyed Gulab's life. Not long after Gulab arrived in the U.S., this friend said, someone from Luttrell's camp asked the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security to send him back to Afghanistan, afraid he would harm the family. A traditional Pashtun meal prepared by Gulab’s wife in the small four-bedroom apartment they all now share. One district commander, Mullah Nasrullah, was livid that his fighters had yet to kill the famous villager from Sabray. No one wants their signature on the next 9/11 hijacker's visa papers…. Not long after he returned to Afghanistan, Gulab was walking along a path in the woods when the militants detonated an improvised explosive device in front of him. Asking for asylum didn't mean he could never return to Afghanistan—nor did it mean his family couldn't join him in the States. "This letter is from the brave fighters and the mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate," it read. The State Department funneled his case to a local relief agency, which paid his rent and gave him thousands of dollars in cash assistance over eight months—all on the condition he continued looking for work and attended free English classes. Others associated with the Lone Survivor movie and book were also approached with similar requests, at about the same time. Robinson, Luttrell's co-author, recalls a similar exchange: "[Luttrell and his wife] offered to build Gulab a large house on a river," he says, "and to provide him with livestock…that would give him an income and he would be safe there forever. "I'm very glad to be in America," Gulab says. When Luttrell offered to help Gulab acquire a green card, the Afghan said he was appreciative but wasn't ready to leave his country, despite the threats against his life. As the wounded Luttrell descended the gulch, he encountered a Pashtun named Mohammad Gulab Khan from the mountain village of Salar Ban. ), Luttrell's account to 60 Minutes, given years after Darack's book came out, differs in significant ways from his memoir, other interviews he gave and speeches he's made around the country. I would have asked [to go to]...Canada or Germany. SCHNEIDERMAN – 5-11-2016 - BRON A photo of former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell dressed in traditional Afghan attire during his stay in the village of … And by the time Gulab's plane landed in Kabul, the Taliban had bootleg versions of it. Gulab decided against it. The family is living in a drab, four-bedroom apartment that costs them $719 a month. This was not an idle threat. But as Robinson went through Luttrell's version of what happened in Afghanistan, Gulab thought many parts of the story were not the way he remembered them. Remembering Operation Red Wings: What Happened? He succeeded, but it cost him his life. I had to go back to Afghanistan. "Infidel," the man on the other line said. In his statement from Buzbee, the former SEAL disputes this, saying he encouraged Gulab to stay but that he left on his own accord. One of them, an Afghan friend, was shot by the Taliban for helping Gulab and still receives death threats. Wildes says he's also received a threat but declined to elaborate. In 2005, Mohammad Gulab found Marcus Luttrell badly wounded and alone in the woods in Afghanistan after the Seal survived an ambush from the Taliban. In the winter of 2014, Gulab was forced to make an agonizing decision: Flee with half his family or wait and risk another attack. He had also received permission from his superiors to publish his memoir, which he worked on with Patrick Robinson, a British novelist. They tried to kill him at night. He had friends in the States and contacts in Kabul, but no one seemed able to help. Afghan villager who saved Navy Seal gets life line from U.S. after … "I was a stranger in this country," Gulab says. We drive to the apartment complex where he and Gulab live with hundreds of other refugees—Afghans and Syrians, Iraqis and Somalis, a smattering of Burmese. It got so intense that I actually put my weapon down and covered my ears. In the summer of 2005, not long after Gulab saved Luttrell, the U.S. military showed its gratitude. Gulab almost didn't make it to the States. Before they parted, Luttrell tried to give Gulab his watch, a token of his gratitude, but the villager declined. That's when he fired into the darkness. Today, as Gulab struggles to adjust to life in America, his harrowing journey—from the snowy peaks of the Hindu Kush to the drab strip malls of Fort Worth—is an inspiring story of hope and survival and a grim tale of betrayal and despair. Marcus Luttrell's Savior, Mohammad Gulab, Claims 'Lone Survivor' Got It Wrong What happened to the Afghan timber worker after a 2005 battle was made into a book and feature film. The street names sound regal—Emperor, Imperial—a stark contrast to buildings' worn brick facades or the patches of beige grass, the empty swimming pool or the bare branches of trees, curling toward the sky. But as the aircraft flew over the mountains and the team prepared to rope down, an insurgent fired a rocket-propelled grenade. "I [had] sacrificed a lot. Wildes's years of experience taught him to take precautions — he keeps a Glock on his hip and a bulletproof vest in his trunk. "[Murphy] took two rounds to the chest," he said. ", Robinson's book paints a heroic portrait of Gulab, but the more I read, the more details he disputes. All I wanted him to do was stop screaming my name…. He says he's never threatened the Luttrells but was afraid the U.S. would send him back to the Taliban. I broke right there, I quit right there.". With Sami Yousafzai in Islamabad, Pakistan, and Ed Darack in Fort Collins, Colorado. We also had a signed copy of the book contract. Months earlier, the Americans had released five Taliban leaders from the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. At a party at the home of the interpreter's parents in California, the Afghan remembers sitting with his translator in the dining room when Luttrell sidled up to him. The brave villager — who saved a Navy Seal from almost certain death at the hands of the Taliban in 2005 — has been marked for death himself by the terrorist group, said lawyer Michael Wildes. Afghan villager who saved Navy SEAL in hiding, seeking US asylum … Some are small: He got the name of the operation wrong—it was Red Wings, like the hockey team, not Redwing. And his newfound fame proved to be lucrative. At first, it seemed to help, but life in Delhi was harder than it was in Afghanistan, and their apartment now felt even more crowded. Known simply as Gulab, he took Luttrell into his home that first day and evoked the assistance of others from his village to protect Luttrell until American forces could be contacted. Unable to make rent, he and his sons spent weeks living in the apartment or a tent, depending on what he could afford. Because Gulab had saved the life of a Navy SEAL, his new friend assumed it wouldn't take long for him to move to the states. He had little money and no way to travel on his own. To prove it, the second person dialed Gulab into the call. Doing so meant he could never return to Afghanistan or reunite with his family, or so he thought. Gulab still wasn't sure, explaining, "I didn't save Marcus for money." A member of Afghan security forces in February surveys the aftermath of a suicide attack in Kunar, a province riven with attacksb by Taliban supporters. And I put my weapon down in a gunfight while my best friend was getting killed. ", That conversation was one of the last Gulab says he had with Luttrell in the U.S. Not long after the 60 Minutes interview, Gulab returned to the home of the translator's parents in California. Luttrell became a SO1 by the end of his eight-year career in the United States Navy.. Luttrell co-hosts After Action, a TV show in which former … "My heart dropped directly into my stomach," Luttrell wrote. When he came to, he saw Mohammad Gulab Khan standing on the bank offering his help. And that's when he finally gave up hope. India had approved his travel visa. He thanked the interpreter for the offer but declined. "The Luttrells believe that Gulab has come under the influence of one or more handlers in Afghanistan, who are manipulating Gulab for their own financial gain. The militants, like many others in the area, heard the helicopter drop the Americans on the mountain, Gulab claims. On April 9, 2014, while I was working at a website called Vocativ, I received an email from Sami Yousafzai, a Pashto-speaking colleague in Islamabad, Pakistan. It is curious that Gulab's allegations and the financial requests came in the same time frame." Gulab is among the fortunate few. The wound wasn't serious, but it was a painful reminder that the Taliban would never stop trying to kill him. For days, Mohammad Gulab and his fellow villagers protected him from a Taliban-linked militia in northeastern Afghanistan. We pile into Fazilhaq 's silver Honda Odyssey and snake over the highways—a concrete labyrinth of pickup trucks and SUVs. Less than a year later, the U.S. military arrested him, fearing he was collaborating with the Taliban, among other things. Navy SEALs Michael Murphy left, and Matthew Axelson were killed during Operation Red Wings; Luttrell was the only man in his team who survived. In the next five years, the Special Immigrant Visa program created tens of thousands of slots for Afghans and Iraqis, but bureaucratic bottlenecks, among other things, have left many of those slots unfilled. In fact, two graphic videos the gunmen shot during the firefight show only seven men in Shah's militia. [1600x1600] Last fall, the 40-something villager from Sabray sought refuge through the U.N. and finally arrived in Texas with his wife and seven children. A short while later, all of Luttrell's teammates were dead, and then a Taliban grenade blew him sideways and over a ravine. He wasn't on the mountain with Luttrell but says everyone in the village could hear the gunfire. The blast woke his children, who ran to a neighbor's house for safety while Gulab and his wife grabbed their Kalashnikovs and climbed onto their roof. His fondest memory of the trip was meeting Mark Wahlberg, the actor who plays Luttrell in the film. A State Department official in Afghanistan told Wildes that Gulab safely fled Saturday afternoon, but the attorney would not name the country where Gulab is now because he could still be at risk. A security guard greets us at the gate and lets us pass. The way Gulab heard it from fellow villagers, when the militants finally found them, the Americans were deliberating about what to do with the goat herders. As he looked at the tears in her eyes, he felt a deep sadness. "[Luttrell's claims] are exaggerated nonsense," says Patrick Kinser, a former Marine infantry officer who participated in Operation Red Wings and read the former SEAL's after action report. Gulab fears a similar fate. When the Afghan contacted him through Fairchild, the former SEAL was setting up a nonprofit, the Lone Survivor Foundation, to help American military personnel adjust to life after war. Wildes says that's no excuse. Wildes, who is based in Manhattan and specializes in immigration cases, said Gulab first contacted him by email last summer after he saw Wildes quoted in a story about the rescuer. I was out in the open, waving my hands. After Yousafzai's story appeared, the former SEAL was upset. Killing the men would be a problem too—the SEALs, Luttrell wrote, worried they'd be charged with murder if the media found out. He even visited Las Vegas. As Gulab guarded Luttrell, the SEAL wrote, another villager went to a nearby U.S. military base with a note from the American. Over the clangor of forks and knives, I start asking Gulab questions. I need help, Marcus!' Yet somehow Luttrell found the strength to move, crawling into a "crevasse" and waiting until it was safe to emerge.