DENVER (CBS4)– From his quiet basement in Denver, some 7,000 miles away from the chaos in Kabul, Retired Army Colonel Patrick Allen is on a mission.
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“The objective now is to get as many people out of there as possible,” he said.
That includes the wife and two daughters of a close friend who came to Colorado from Afghanistan six years ago. He worked as an interpreter for the U.S. Marines, and asked to remain anonymous for safety.
“It has been very challenging,” the man told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann. “It has been very hard.”
His wife and kids went to Afghanistan in June to visit family. Hours before their flight home on August 15, Turkish Airlines canceled their tickets as the Taliban took over the capital.
“My wife called me crying that the Taliban are all over the city,” he said.
That’s when he reached out to Allen for help.READ MORE: Colorado Governor Orders Flags Lowered On Tuesday After Death Of Firefighter Darcy Stallings
“I’m very worried,” Allen told CBS4. “Stories that you’ve heard about the Taliban are true. They’re bad people.”
Allen served in Afghanistan in 2009 and worked at the Embassy in Kabul during his year overseas. Using his knowledge of the system there as well as making connections with the State Department and Homeland Security, Allen helped his friend’s family reach a safe haven at the Kabul airport early Tuesday.
“I’m very happy my kids are hopefully on a plane coming home soon,” said the man Allen is helping. “Patrick is like family to us. He’s like a godfather.”
Yet Allen’s mission is far from over. He’s also trying to evacuate children and young women he worked with a small orphanage and school.
“There are at least 31 lives I’m trying to save,” Allen explained. “They’re teachers, educators at a girl’s school I worked with. They were my friends.”
Allen is hopeful but knows things can change in the blink of an eye. All the more reason why he will not give up, no matter the miles between.MORE NEWS: Investigators Looking For 2 People Spotted At Haunted House Fire Scene
“It’s the right thing to do,” he said. “This is important to me and it’s who I am.”