This Week at War: Immigrant Returns to Afghanistan as U.S. Army Soldier
From Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria to the Korean peninsula, thousands of troops and military families are sacrificing for the cause of freedom.
President Trump dedicated just two sentences to America’s longest war in his first State of the Union address. That was similar to President Obama’s final speech to a joint session of Congress. The war in Afghanistan is not a top national priority for most politicians or journalists. That is precisely why The Stream has made a commitment to spotlighting the weekly sacrifices of our nation’s brave troops.
The remarkable story of U.S. Army Spc. Hameedullah Qasimi is a shining example of why our military’s ongoing efforts in Afghanistan deserve more attention. The soldier isn’t just serving in Afghanistan. He was born there. As Spc. Elizabeth White shows us in this fascinating, heartfelt story, his 2014 arrival in the United States couldn’t have been more difficult.
“I stayed my first night in the states in a homeless shelter,” he told his fellow soldier. “My sponsor, who had to pick me up at the airport, fell asleep. I didn’t have a number, I had nothing, so the police took me to a homeless shelter.”
Incredibly, the 30-year-old immigrant volunteered to join the U.S. Army in 2015. When an opportunity arose to deploy to Afghanistan, he raised his hand. Even though the Afghan native is now back in his homeland as a U.S. Army soldier, he still can’t see his loved ones. They live under the threat of ruthless Taliban violence.
“If I was able to see my family here again, it would be a dream come true,” he said.
Please pray for Spc. Hameedullah Qasimi and his family. We thank this American and Afghan hero for risking his life for the cause of freedom.
Iraq and Syria
While U.S. and coalition forces have liberated much of the territory formerly controlled by ISIS terrorists in Iraq and Syria, the men and women of our military are still heavily engaged in both countries. According to the Department of Defense, the U.S.-led coalition conducted six separate strikes in Syria on January 25 alone. These targeted “three ISIS tactical units and destroyed two ISIS supply routes, four fighting positions, a front-end loader, a road grader and an ISIS line of communication” close to Syria’s border with Iraq.
Speaking of Iraq, the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit and America Amphibious Ready Group has returned to Camp Pendleton in California after a seven-month deployment. While the Marines and sailors served in several countries, a detachment of Combat Logistics Battalion 15 was directly confronting ISIS in Iraq.
“The ARG/MEU’s presence in the Central Command area of responsibility helped finish off ISIS in Iraq, deterred aggressors, instilled confidence in our partner forces and supported strategic interests by contributing to regional security and stability,” U.S. Marine Col. Joseph Clearfield said.
At Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota, U.S. Air Force airmen, including B-1 bomber pilots, returned home this week after a six-month deployment to Guam, which is squarely in the crosshairs of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
As the above photo shows, deployments have a staggering impact on military children, spouses, parents and siblings. All of these good people spent the last six months worrying about their heroes while an already volatile situation intensified on the Korean Peninsula. We thank God for the safe return of these airmen, while praying for those who will spend the weeks and months ahead in the world’s most dangerous places.
Tom Sileo is a contributing senior editor of The Stream. He is co-author of three books about U.S. military heroes: 8 Seconds of Courage, Brothers Forever and Fire in My Eyes. Follow Tom on Twitter @TSileo.