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Trial Set for 1 of 3 Asylum-Seeking Afghan Soldiers

  • VOA News

The deportation trial for one of three Afghan soldiers who fled a training exercise in the United States to seek asylum has been scheduled for December 9.

An immigration judge in New York Wednesday set bond at $25,000 for Major Jan Arash. His lawyer said the major will not immediately be released because the amount is "extraordinarily high'' for a non-criminal immigration case.

Arash, Captain Noorullah Aminyar and Captain Mohammed Nasir Askarzada have been held in an immigration jail in northern New York since September 22, when they were stopped trying to cross into Canada to request asylum there.

The bail hearings for the other two men were postponed until October 22. The U.S. government argues they should be deported because their visas have expired.

The officers say Taliban insurgents have threatened them for aiding the U.S. military. They said they also fear reprisals from the Afghan government for deserting the army.

Their lawyer said the men have strong asylum claims, and he is coordinating an effort to raise money to cover their bail and living expenses.

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