Thousands of miles away from the unfolding action in Kabul, Sofia Bator spent much of last week in the dark, waiting for answers she wasn't should would come.
Bator's focus zeroed in on helping her 24-year-old cousin, Freshta Nazari, escape Afghanistan following the Taliban's takeover of Kabul. The Ossining woman had not heard from her cousin in Afghanistan since the Kabul airport suicide bombing on Wednesday that took the lives of 13 U.S. service members.
Bator said her cousin was waiting outside the airport before the attack in the area where the bomb went off.
After days of waiting, worrying about the worst outcome possible, Bator heard in the early hours of Saturday morning that her cousin had safely made it out of the country.
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"I just cried. I just cried of happiness," Bator said Saturday. "There were so many emotions going on inside my head."
Bator herself says she got out of Afghanistan in 2012. She says her cousin is a women's rights activist who just wants to finish her education -- something they both fear the Taliban will not allow.
Nazari had gone into hiding following the Taliban takeover, spending a week locked inside her Kabul apartment.
"One week she was in that room, her food was run out and she did not have water. She did not have anything to eat for three days," Bator described her cousin's plight. "She said maybe I'm going to die in the room."
Word finally came around 4 a.m. Saturday: "Sofia I am in Germany, Sofia I am safe."
Speaking to her cousin on the phone, Nazari said she's thankful to have made it safely out of the country but still worries for her parents who remain. Bator, meanwhile, calls her cousin's escape a symbol of hope and resilience.