As I was reading Lone Survivor, the amazing story of Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell’s survival of Operation Redwing, I wondered about the incredible, brave, and heroic Afghani who risked his own life and his own village to save the wounded American. So, I was very pleased when I learned that the story of Mohammed Gulab would be told in The Lion of Sabray. As Luttrell did for Lone Survivor, Gulab teamed with Patrick Robinson to share his account, and it does not disappoint.
Gulab is indeed a lion. Fierce, protective, and willing to fight to defend himself, his home, and those who Allah puts in his care, such as a severely wounded Texan found half dead on Gulab’s mountain. The story of this incredible Afghani’s life before, during, and after his encounter with Luttrell is shocking and fascinating. From a pre-teen machine gunner to a mujahideen field commander, Gulab is a warrior, a survivor, and a protector of Sabray.
Though Gulab does not speak a word of English, Robinson, through a translator, perfectly captures the voice, presence, and faithfulness of a man who, by the age of eight, was training for war, and who later risked everything to defy the Taliban and save the life of a fellow warrior. Robinson clearly explains the Pastunwali code of honor that Gulab lives by and reveals recently declassified facts about Luttrell’s rescue that could not be included in Lone Survivor. He also makes one thing perfectly clear: Marcus Luttrell would not be alive today without the fierce determination and unflagging faith of the Lion of Sabray.
By saving the life of a complete stranger, a man many of Gulab’s own countrymen would label an enemy, Gulab made himself an enemy of the Taliban and a target of their vengeance. He lost the home his family had known for generations, the timber that served as his biggest source of income, and the security of his village. Since his valiant rescue of Luttrell, Gulab has been attacked by terrorists and shot in his own home. I hope this heroic man and his family find peace and security and may someday return home to Sabray.