Watch CBS News

'I Will Never Forget This': Modesto Neighbors Help Family Of 9 Escape Afghanistan

MODESTO (CBS13) — A Modesto family of nine is telling their story of survival after one of them didn't make it out of Afghanistan alive.  A night at home hasn't felt this good, or more importantly, this safe in months.

After sleepless nights hearing gunshots outside their window in Afghanistan, the Bayani family was relieved to be back home in Modesto.

"For sure, I was scared too much, but we were at home. We were not going out," Jamal Nasir Bayani told CBS13.

Jamal just spent nearly 60 long days and nights desperately trying to get out of Afghanistan, all while he and his wife tried to calm the fears of their seven children. What was supposed to be a family vacation visiting relatives turned into a nightmare when the country fell to the Taliban.

The children were there when their grandfather was shot and killed.

"You know, I'm so feeling sad because he died, the Taliban kill him," said Jamal's daughter, Neda. "I need my grandma to come here."

"I was thinking too much for my kids. You know? Not only for myself.  I said 'OK, if something should happen, that's fine, but at least my kids should be out and my wife,' " said Jamal.

It's possible not one but two angels both by the name of Diane heard Jamal's prayers.

"Oh it was awful," said Diane DeHart.

"I told Jamal, 'if I could, I would fly a plane over there just to get you home today,' " said Dianne Dow.

DeHart and Dow live in the same Modesto neighborhood as the Bayani's. In fact, Dow helps the girls after school with their English.

"I was terrified for them," said Dow.

It was that fear and love that drove them to help. They spent weeks making countless phone calls and sending emails until someone responded from the U.S. Embassy in Uzbekistan. Within days, the family of nine was on a plane back to the United States.

"They helped me too much. I will never forget this," said Jamal.

DeHart and Dow are still trying to help.

"We do have concerns about their extended family. We're still making phone calls," said DeHart.

"Yeah, We're not done. We're not done," said Dow.

The two Diane's are now raising money online to help the family get back on their feet after they fell behind on rent and bills while being stuck in Afghanistan.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.