Afghan baby handed to US Marine during Kabul exit reunites with family, but drama does not end

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Among the most indelible images capturing the debacle in Afghanistan under President Joe Biden was a photo of a U.S. Marine hoisting a baby over a barbed wire fence during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul.

The boy’s desperate family trusted their baby in the hands of American forces rather than leave his fate to the crushing crowd surrounding the airport, but as is often the case in the din of war the baby went missing for nearly five months, but Fox News reported Sunday that after many long days apart the baby has been reunited with his family.

“The baby, Sohail Ahmadi, was two months old when he went missing on Aug. 19 as thousands of people converged at the airport in Kabul looking to evacuate the nation as the Taliban regained control,” Fox News reported. “The boy’s parents feared their son would get crushed by the crowd, and the father, Mirza Ali Ahmadi, handed him to a uniformed soldier he believed was an American over a fence at the airport. Ahamdi, who worked as a security guard at the U.S. embassy, recounted to Reuters that he believed he would be reunited with his son soon after he, his wife and their other children made it through the airport’s gate.”

Instead, the Taliban reportedly pushed the crowd back before the parents and their four other kids could get through the gate — the ensuing 30 minute period that passed before they managed to get through the gate was long enough for the baby to disappear — officials told Ahmadi the child had likely already been evacuated and the family would be reunited later, according to Fox News.

The family eventually evacuated to the U.S., but they had no idea what had happened to their son, who was still in Kabul.

Reuters would then report that a Hamid Safi, a 29-year-old cab drive found the baby at the airport and after failing to locate the parents took the boy home to his wife and their own children.

“I am keeping this baby. If his family is found, I will give him to them. If not, I will raise him myself,” he told the news outlet in late November.

(Photo by -/Courtesy of Omar Haidiri/AFP via Getty Images)

The Reuters article would result in the boy’s grandfather learning of his whereabouts and traveling to Safi’s home, but the cab driver refused to give him up.

Safi wanted his family to also be evacuated from the country and the grandfather, Mohammad Qasem Razawi, eventually got the Taliban police involved, Fox News reported.

“The grandfather of the baby complained to us and we found Hamid and based on the evidence we had, we recognized the baby,” police official Hamid Malang said, according to the network. “With both sides in agreement, the baby will be handed over to his grandfather.”

While it took some time and a $950 stipend, Safi finally surrendered the boy and while he is with family, he has yet to be reunited with his parents in the U.S.

“We need to get the baby back to his mother and father. This is my only responsibility,” his grandfather said. “My wish is that he should return to them.”

Tom Tillison


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