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The secret gate : a true story of courage and sacrifice during the collapse of Afghanistan  Cover Image Book Book

The secret gate : a true story of courage and sacrifice during the collapse of Afghanistan / Mitchell Zuckoff.

Zuckoff, Mitchell, (author.).


"When the U.S. began its withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Afghan Army instantly collapsed, Homeira Qaderi was marked for death at the hands of the Taliban. A celebrated author, academic, and champion for women's liberation, Homeira had achieved celebrity in her home country by winning custody of her son in a contentious divorce, a rarity in Afghanistan's patriarchal society. Homeira tried and failed to escape with her family through the turmoil of the Kabul airport, while evacuation planes departed without Homeira and her eight-year-old son, Siawash. Meanwhile, young foreign service officer from New Jersey named Sam Aronson was enjoying a brief vacation between assignments when chaos descended upon Afghanistan. Sam immediately volunteered his services in the evacuation and got on a plane to Kabul. As he frantically raced to help rescue the more than 100,000 Americans and their Afghan helpers stranded in Kabul, Sam learned that the CIA had established a secret entrance into the Kabul Airport, two miles away from the desperate crowds crushing toward the gates. He started bringing families directly through, personally rescuing as many as fifty-two people in a single day. On the last day of the evacuation, Sam was contacted by Homeira's literary agent, who persuaded him to help her escape. He needed to risk his life to get Homeira and Siawash through the gate in the final hours before it closed forever. He borrowed night-vision goggles and enlisted a Dari-speaking colleague and two heavily armed security contract "shooters." He contacted Homeira with a burner phone, and they used a flashlight code signal borrowed from boyhood summer camp. Homeira broke Sam's rules and withstood his profanities. They braved gunfire by Afghan Army soldiers anxious about the restive crowds outside the airport. Ultimately, they had to leave behind their family and everything young Siawash had ever known"-- Provided by publisher.

Record details

  • ISBN: 9780593594841
  • ISBN: 0593594843
  • Physical Description: 316 pages : illustrations, map ; 25 cm
  • Edition: First edition.
  • Publisher: New York : Random House, [2023]

Content descriptions

Bibliography, etc. Note:
Includes bibliographical references (pages 289-299) and index.
Formatted Contents Note:
Homeira -- Sam -- Kabul -- Volunteer -- Taliban -- Asad -- White scarves -- Glory gate -- Wolves -- Abbey gate -- Last chance -- Final sprint -- "Run, Homeira!" -- Epilogue: After glory.
Subject: Qādirī, Ḥumayrā, 1979 or 1980-
Afghan War, 2001-2021 > Evacuation of civilians > Biography.
Mothers and sons > Afghanistan > Biography.
Women authors, Afghan > Biography.
Genre: Biographies.

Available copies

  • 1 of 1 copy available at Branch District Library.


  • 0 current holds with 1 total copy.
Show Only Available Copies
Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
Coldwater Branch 958.104 ZUC (Text) 35401425274577 Non-Fiction Available -

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