AFSA Book Notes: The Secret Gate

Start Date/Time: 
Wednesday, May 3, 2023 - 12:00
End Date/Time: 
Wednesday, May 3, 2023 - 13:00

AFSA is honored to welcome award-winning author Mitchell Zuckoff in a discussion of his brand-new book, The Secret Gate: A True Story of Courage and Sacrifice During the Collapse of Afghanistan. This Zoom event takes place on Wednesday, May 3, at 12:00 p.m. EDT. Click here to register.

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 Siawash in a contentious divorce, a rarity in Afghanistan's patriarchal society. As evacuation planes departed above, Homeira was caught in the turmoil at the Kabul Airport.

A young American diplomat named Sam Aronson volunteered to join the skeleton team of remaining officials at Kabul Airport, frantically racing to help rescue the more than 100,000 stranded Americans and their Afghan helpers. When Sam learned that the CIA had established a secret entrance into the airport, 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 them through the gate in the final hours before it closed forever. Ultimately, to enter the airport, Homeira and Siawash would have to leave behind their family and everything they had ever known. 

Mitchell Zuckoff is the author of eight previous works of nonfiction, including the #1 New York Times bestseller 13 Hours, as well as Frozen in Time and Lost in Shangri-La. As a member of the Boston Globe’sSpotlight team, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting. Zuckoff’s honors include the Livingston Award for International Reporting and the Winship/PEN New England Award for Nonfiction. He is a professor of journalism at Boston University.

This event will be recorded and made available to AFSA members on our website, Copies of the book may be purchased by clicking here.