Larry C Johnson
Why is the Bush Adminstration persecuting the Afghan who saved the life of a Navy SEAL? Last June, a four man team of Navy SEALs was inserted into bad guy country in Afghanistan. Their mission was to find and surveil a high profile Taliban target. They were discovered by Taliban forces and attacked. Three of the SEALs died and one survived. How? He survived, despite being shot several times, by seeking refuge in the village where Mohammad Gulab lived. An article in the 17 April issue of Newsweek tells the story:
Gulab brought the
injured stranger home, fed and sheltered him for two days and helped
contact a U.S. rescue team to airlift him out.
But Gulab did more than provide shelter. Taliban fighters visited the village repeatedly offering to pay Gulab to hand the SEAL over. Gulab refused. Irate Afghans from a nearby village that had been hit by US bombers also showed up demanding that the American be handed over. They wanted to kill him. Gulab refused. Bound by a sense of honor, Gulab put himself and his family at risk for an American sailor; a wounded one at that.
So, how have we paid him back? He was detained and interrogated recently at Bagram Air Force Bace in Afghanistan. Newsweek now reports that:
Late on Friday, April 14—the week NEWSWEEK’s
story appeared—Gulab’s phone rang. The caller told him to come to the
U.S. base at 11 the next morning, and Gulab barely slept that night,
thinking the Americans were going to relocate him and his family out of
danger. When he reported to the main gate on Saturday, he found a pair
of U.S. soldiers waiting for him. They checked his name—and then
handcuffed and blindfolded him, hauling him off to an unlit room in a
remote corner of the base. There, he says, he was placed in a cage so
cramped that he could neither stand up nor lie down.
later, two Americans and an interpreter entered the room and began
interrogating him. Most of the questions were about his life and his
family, although Gulab couldn’t imagine why. He was sure his captors
knew exactly who he was, he says. They inquired about ties to al Qaeda,
a question he considered insulting. Hadn’t he saved an American
commando’s life? And the interrogators kept returning to the subject of
his contacts with NEWSWEEK. They had searched him and found a NEWSWEEK
reporter’s business card with an Islamabad address. The interrogators
kept asking when he had been to Pakistan and where had gone, although
he told them he had not traveled to the Pakistani capital.
Navy SEALs I know are not happy about this. Here are a couple of reactions to this news:
"Fuck! The assholes in Bagram will not approve REAL targets that we have, yet they screw with an actual person who helped a brother in need. Mutherfuckers!"
"I think money to get this guy out would be better spent than fund raising efforts to help the families left behind by the shoot down of the CH-47. Those guys are dead, but we would like any future frogs to be helped by people like Gulab. It would be a good thing to bring this guy and his family over here. This sucks."
Too bad our military and political leaders overseeing the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan do not have the sense of honor and decency of Mohammad Gulab. He saved an American and deserves better.