Arizona attorney helps evacuate Afghan translator

KMSB News 9-10 p.m. recurring
Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 10:11 PM MST
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Afghan interpreter Zabi assists U.S. Marines
Afghan interpreter Zabi assists U.S. Marines(U.S. Marine Corps)

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Outside the Kabul International Airport, desperate Afghans wait, hope and pray.

Just on the other side of US military gates, they see salvation. Among them just two days ago, a man named Zabi, an interpreter embedded with US Marines for ten years.

Cory started feverishly working to get Zabi and his wife out - before they could be hunted down.

Both men asked that only their first names be used for security reasons.

Cory is the marine seen in the above picture next to Zabi, wearing the helmet.

Cory called his old high school friend, Darius Amiri, now an immigration attorney in Arizona.

“It’s not just translating,” said Amiri, chair of the immigration department at Rose Law Group. “It’s running ammo, clearing minefields, getting intel that saved American lives.”

Together, they got to work, flooding phone lines in Washington, eventually getting Zabi on a plane. It took three tries. Gunshots can be heard in Zabi’s voicemails to the men helping him.

“On the first attempt, Zabi was beaten at a checkpoint, his wife had her teeth broken. Another, he was pepper sprayed. Then, there was a very close call with a suicide bomb and they had to shut down everything. And then, Sunday morning I got a text from Cory saying, ‘wake up, I’ve got good news,” Amiri said.

This morning, Zabi got out of Afghanistan. One of the first things he did was call Amiri.

“I don’t know how to say thanks,” Zabi said in a voice mail. “You guys are amazing. You guys have been helping me since such a long time. You guys didn’t sleep. You have always been helping me.”

Amiri said Zabi is “in the clear,” and he’s elated that he made it out of Kabul.

It was really minute by minute, but if the Taliban would have caught him...they would want to kill him,” he said.

Zabi joins thousands of evacuees from Afghanistan at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, what’s become a weigh station for those waiting for Special Immigrant Visas.

The story won’t end here. Zabi hopes to come to the U.S. but there are many steps ahead. Many steps others may not get the chance to take.

“They were there for us and now we need to do the same for them,” said Amiri. “Otherwise, there may not be another chance to get them out.″

Copyright 2021 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.