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Former Afghan Soldier Granted Asylum In U.S.

Afghan army soldiers during military operation in Faryab province in June.

A soldier in the Afghan Army who went missing during a training exercise at a U.S. military base in Massachusetts last year has been granted asylum by the United States, his lawyer said on June 30.

Major Jan Mohammad Arash was one of three Afghan soldiers who turned themselves in at a Canadian border crossing in September after disappearing from an exercise.

"The board of immigration has ruled that he gets asylum," said Matthew Borowski, who represented Arash in his request for asylum and subsequent appeal. "He's overjoyed. He was almost in disbelief."

An appeals board found that Arash's pro-Western beliefs would have put him in danger of attack by Taliban militants had he returned to Afghanistan, Borowski said.

The board "held that the Taliban is a de facto government in Afghanistan and that they exert power over large portions of the country," he said.

"The danger that my client faces is not merely because he is a military officer, but because he has an imputed position of being pro-Western because he attended training in the United States."

Based on reporting by Reuters and