It does not take an American to save another American, in the same manner that being an American no longer assures one of being safe from attacks from a fellow American. With the fifth anniversary of Operation Redwing just a day away, we thought it fitting to share a bit of information about the Pashtun of Sabri-Minah, whom lone survivor Marcus Luttrell credits with helping save his life five years ago.
In his book The Lone Survivor, Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell shared how, although severely wounded, he traveled for seven miles, alternately walking and crawling to avoid being captured. He then mentioned that he was provided with shelter and medical help by the tribesmen in the Pashtun Village of Sabri-Minah in Afghanistan.
The tribesmen did not give in to demands by the Taliban to hand Luttrell over to them. One of the village elders traveled 20 miles to a US base to inform them about the whereabouts of Luttrell, after which he was rescued.
The Pashtun live by several main principles, one of which is “Nanawatai,” or asylum. The Pashtun belief termed as “Lokhay Warkawal” called for the Pashtun to provide shelter to any stranger who was in need. At that point in time, that stranger in need was Luttrell, and the Sabray tribe recognized that he needed help in more ways than one. Aside from physically helping the stranger, they are also bound by their principle to provide him with protection “at all costs”; if such a stranger is one the run from the law, he will still be given refuge until the issue has been cleared up.