‘I think she just made contact. . . Waiting: Escape from Kabul

Dany : Relayed your photo. Their point of view.

The photograph is taken by Shah. He is stuck in the crowd, so the frame is mostly consumed by the back of others’ heads. In the distance, you can see a pair of Marines barricaded behind a concrete wall with a coil of concertina wire unrolled on top and a security camera with its black orb lens hanging above a small crane.

Richardelle: They’re in front of the vehicle entrance, the fence gate is to their left on the south side of the T-wall. They need to back up, circle around, and swing left.

Dany : Reg. Communicate it to him.

Richardelle: The canal is to their left. This is the capture function. Hit the canal and turn right. Come to the closed gate.

A minute of silence passes.

Richardelle: Got visual. Keep moving forward.

Dany : Communications lost, he moves.

Richardelle: We are moving now. We see it.

Dany : On the phone with Shah it’s him

Richardelle: We have it.

Dany : I love you. Thank you sir.

I have since arrived at my doorstep. My son is sitting next to me playing a WWII fighter pilot game on his iPad. He blasts Nazi Messerschmitts and Japanese Zeros out of the sky. The other kids do pretty much the same thing, play games on their phones or iPads, watch videos, gently bicker and generally kill the 30 or so minutes until we catch our flight. My wife slides into the seat next to mine. “You OK?” she asks. I show him my phone. She scrolls through the last 15 minutes or so of messages. My wife cries easily – I’ve even seen her cry while watching football. It’s one of the many things I love about her. When she hands my phone back to me, she wipes the tears from her eyes and just says, “Thank God.

At that, my son looks at both of us and asks, “Are you okay?”

“We are fine,” my wife said. “Some people your father tried to help seem to want to leave Afghanistan.”

“But that’s good news,” he said. “Why are you two crying? »

My wife puts her hand on my neck. Very calmly, she said, “I think I’m just happy for these people. Then she looks at me and adds, “And I’m happy for your father.”

My son is sitting up straight, slightly flaring his shoulders. He puts his hand on my shoulder. He regards me for a moment as a general reviewing one of his soldiers in the ranks, and with all the earnestness, coolness and seriousness that a 9-year-old boy could muster, he says, “Good job. , father. I’m happy for you too. Then he goes back to his game.

In the chat we try to confirm that everyone has walked through the door, that in the chaos no one has been inadvertently left behind. Ian reposts the manifesto for Richardella to confirm. Along with confirming the manifesto and that consular services have now processed everyone at the airport, Richardella posts a selfie. Shah stands in the center of the frame with his left arm embracing Forozan. To their right is Richardella whose arm is outstretched as he takes the picture. He still wears his helmet and body armor, with a small, familiar 1st Battalion, 8th Marine unit patch hooked onto his chest next to his rank insignia. The other eight of the group are huddled around these three, crowding into the frame. Their smiles are unrestrained.

Ian writes, Hero.

I write the same.

Danny writes, I’m crying. Hero. There’s the fucking mannnnn


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