An Afghan villager who saved a Navy SEAL and was portrayed in a Hollywood film faces death threats from the Taliban and is having a tough time getting permission to come to the U.S., according to his lawyer.
Mohammad Gulab's ordeal began in 2005, when Marcus Luttrell and three fellow Navy SEALs were ambushed by Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. A fierce fight left three dead and Luttrell, the only American survivor, with a broken back and several shrapnel wounds. Luttrell credits Gulab with saving his life, as the Afghan brought the wounded soldier into his home and protected him from the Taliban until U.S. reinforcements arrived.
“He is not safe until he’s on U.S. soil."
- Michael Wildes, pro-bono attorney for Mohammad Gulab
The scene was depicted in the 2013 movie “Lone Survivor.” Luttrell was also a friend of Chris Kyle, the subject of the new record-smashing movie American Sniper, and went through sniper training with him.
Yet although Gulab’s heroism has been depicted on the big screen, life has reportedly been hard for him since saving Luttrell. He has had to leave his hometown and hide from the Taliban and at one point, he was reportedly attacked and shot in the leg.
Now he wants to come to America, where he believes he will be safer, but his lawyer tells FoxNews.com that bureaucracy is making the process difficult and slow. Gulab has said Luttrell offered to help him obtain a green card, but the relationship between the two men appears to have become strained while Gulab was visiting the U.S. last year for the premiere of "Lone Survivor." When contacted by FoxNews.com, Lutrell declined to comment on Gulab or his bid for asylum.
For now, Gulab's hopes rest with Michael Wildes, a New York-based immigration attorney who has taken the case for free.
“The Department of Homeland Security is currently reviewing his file to determine whether or not they would put in a request with the United Nations to have him relocated to U.S. based on what he did,” Wildes told FoxNews.com.
DHS officials did not return calls seeking comment.
Wildes added that, although he has managed to get Gulab out of Afghanistan and into an undisclosed third country, it is still urgent that Gulab be given asylum in the U.S.
“He is not safe until he’s on U.S. soil," Wildes said. "I am prayerful this will happen soon.”
If Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson finds Gulab's bid for asylum worthy, the department would submit the request to the UN. If approved by the world body, Gulab will be allowed to come to the U.S. and seek asylum, said Wildes.
“That’s as simple as it takes… I wish it would happen as instinctively as Mohammed Gulab gave Marcus Luttrell safety. We should be returning that same sentiment,” he said.
Since the story was first reported by CBS News, some have noted that Gulab visited America before, and have questioned why he did not apply for asylum then if his life is in such risk. Gulab visted once in 2010 when Luttrell paid for a round-trip ticket so that he could come visit, and again in 2013 when Universal Studios paid for him to come to the premiere of “Lone Survivor,” which features him saving Luttrell.
Wildes said that circumstances have gotten much more dangerous for Gulab with the release of the movie.
“[The problem] became more acute over time,” Wildes said.