IOWA FALLS, Iowa — Afghan Zalmay Niazy said the Taliban would likely kill him for aiding American troops if he was deported to his home country. On Thursday, he learned he will remain in the United States while he seeks asylum in Iowa Falls.
“I was very happy and thankful to my almighty God that I am able to stay in the country and that I’m not getting the death sentence that they were supposed to give me,” said Niazy, who served as a translator for American troops in Afghanistan.
Niazy is no longer at risk of deportation because the United States dropped charges accusing him of aiding the Taliban. He fled his country six years ago and has lived in Iowa Falls for the past five years.
He said the news came at a bittersweet time because of the collapse of the Afghan government. Niazy’s immediate family remains in Afghanistan, but he said other family members were able to escape to America this week to live with their closest relatives in Iowa Falls.
“I feel sorry for them that they had to wait all these years just for the families to be reunited and that they had to go through all of this,” Niazy said. “I’m glad they’re safe and they’re protected.”
Niazy is hoping to become a United States citizen. His path to asylum and citizenship continues with an immigration hearing in October.
Niazy said even though he is at extreme risk of death if he returns to Afghanistan, he is willing to go back if the United States military calls for his services.
“That’s my patriotic duty just to help our soldiers and the other soldiers in other countries that bring Afghans to safer zones,” Niazy said. “I am ready and I will do whatever it takes, even if it costs my life.”