At a very special in-person conversation, Mr. Bida shares how his team and himself "pulled out of hell" hundreds of people fleeing Kabul. A lesson in boldness, humanity and resilience.

An unforgettable and inspiring, yet true story he tells in his new book “13 jours – 13 nuits”, published on September 7th

TheMerode is thrilled to welcome the charismatic Commander who was awarded the famous “Legion d’Honneur” for his merits during the evacuation.

“I am honoured to be the face of those who will remain in the shadows and share with them every mark of recognition. I tell them all my admiration and my pride to have served at their side.” Mohamed Bida. 

“When everything else fails, you must try the unthinkable…” On Sunday 15 August 2021, the Taliban entered Kabul, seized the presidential palace and the power.

It is the end of hope for millions of Afghans exhausted by forty years of war. Thousands of them flee to the airport, while others try their luck at the last Western mission, the French embassy. Commander Mohamed Bida and ten elite police officers are the only ones to  provide security at the site. Trapped with 500 people to evacuate, while scenes of apocalypse and chaos happen in the capital city of Kabul, they fear terrorist threat within the walls of the embassy.

But time is running out, evacuation plans are failing one after the other and Commander Bida has to negotiate alone with the Taliban and their terrorist wing.

This is the beginning of 13 sleepless days and nights for these experienced policemen, who can only rely on their courage and intelligence to save these men, women and children. Leading them to freedom, at the risk of their lives, to the airport, becomes their focus.

Over the course of 13 days and 13 nights, the police, diplomats and soldiers of the French mission in Afghanistan saved 2,834 people. A heroic story, which is also a lesson of humanity and resilience.

The book, “13 jours – 13 nuits” will be on sale during the event. Feel free to bring your own copy. Have your book signed by the author himself.

About the speaker 

Mohamed Bida, retired Police Commander

At the age of 20, he joined the national police force where he rose through the ranks to divisional commander. He had an exemplary career in the fight against organised crime and terrorism before joining the protection service for high-profile personalities. He served two prime ministers, Lionel Jospin and Jean-Pierre Raffarin. Noticed by his peers, he was recruited by Jean-Louis Borloo and Maurice Leroy, two centrist ministers, to whom he was respectively head of cabinet and deputy head of cabinet.

In 2016, he was appointed to the French Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, as the ambassador’s advisor for security affairs. In this position, he lived through the tragic hours following the fall of the country to the Taliban on 15 August 2021. In the midst of the chaos, he played an essential role in the protection and evacuation of several hundred French and Afghans who had come to the French embassy to seek assistance and protection. For these acts, he was awarded the French Legion of Honour in January 2022.


  • 18:30 > Welcome
  • 19:00 – 20:00 > Conference


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