Norwegian military veterans in full uniform, other enthusiastic supporters and a full press corps were among those waiting to welcome Faizullah Muradi back to Norway Thursday evening, after government officials reversed his deportation last week. Now Muradi can stay in Norway while his application for asylum is evaluated.
It’s unlikely the 22-year-old Afghan, who worked as an interpreter for Norwegian military forces during the war in Afghanistan, will be sent out of Norway again. His large array of supporters, not least from within the current and veteran ranks of the Norwegian defense forces, claim he risked his own life in service for Norway. It would be morally reprehensible, they argue, for Norwegian immigration officials to send him back to Afghanistan, where he is under threat from the Taliban.
Muradi himself was smiling, relieved and grateful for all the support he’s received, not least upon landing first at Oslo’s main airport at Gardermoen and then at the main airport in Kristiansand that serves southern Norway, where Muradi had been living until police were ordered to send him back to Italy (where he’d first entered Europe) last week. He was greeted by, among others, saluting war veterans in full uniform, who claimed that Muradi is “one of them” now, and deserved all the support they could give him.
“I’m so happy, and I want to thank all of my veteran colleagues,” Muradi told reporters. “They didn’t leave me in this battle.”
After political pressure prompted government officials to reverse their decision that Muradi’s asylum application be evaluated in Italy, his case will now be handled by Norway’s immigration officials.