FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — The terror faced by those you know, the panic of life or death, and the desperation to help.
“I’ve had my ups and downs but staying emotionally grounded in a situation like this is totally necessary although I’ll admit I’ve shed tears,” said Fayetteville attorney Boris Abbey. Abbey is a former Marine and member of the Army’s 82nd Airborne, as well as a teacher at the American University of Afghanistan.
“Students in Afghanistan, especially those who have attended a university that has both females and males, they’re all very, very high risk,” he said.
That includes his former students Yar and Abdul. For security purposes, CBS 17 is only using their first names.
“I can’t share the feeling how hard it was to get into the airport, but fortunately we could make it,” said Abdul.
The two men spoke to CBS 17 from a processing center in the United States with a weak internet connection via Zoom. Abdul had worked for what is now the former Afghan government in the presidential palace and had to go into hiding.
Knowing Abdul would likely be killed if he didn’t get involved, Boris Abbey went to work.
“What I saw was an opportunity just simply because I was in contact with hundreds of students in Afghanistan to at least mobilize them, get them together, set up the networks that are secure or as secure as possible, and then wait until other individuals can jump on board to help getting them into the airport or getting them into Pakistan,” said Abbey.
It took several days for Abdul and Yar to successfully make it inside the airport and to the right gate. The network Abbey referred to gave Abdul a code word to shout when he got there. When he did a soldier pulled him out of the crowd to get him on a plane.
“And then I shouted that code and wow that was a good feeling I got at that moment when that soldier found me and he shaked [sic] his hand,” said Abdul.
“Logistically, every piece of the puzzle has to fit together, otherwise the puzzle never gets put together,” said Abbey.
Because of a weak internet signal, much of our interview with Yar froze but his emotional reminder was clear.
“We’ve left our homes behind, our families behind, your love behind,” he said.
He went on to say how grateful he is for the aid from the U.S and that of Boris Abbey who so far has helped around 250 Afghan allies escape Afghanistan. His work continues to help many others.
“I’m not a hero, I don’t deserve any credit. All I did was get people together and link them with other people,” said Abbey.