The incident took place outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. But the child has since been reported to have safely reunited with the father.
The US withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan has left the country in chaos. The Taliban took over the country at breakneck speed, leaving the citizens to flee their homeland, fearing another repressive regime under the fundamentalist group. People flocked to the airports to take the first flight out of the country, many were successful, many others were not and the harrowing images of two desperate Afghans falling off a plane have haunted all our collective consciousness. The Taliban rule is disproportionately going to impact women and girls. As people continue to flee, more heart-breaking images are surfacing.
Outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul was a large gathering of fleeing Afghans. In a video, that has since gone viral, we see a man lift his newborn baby towards the soldiers who were standing over barbed wire on a tall wall. The soldier lifts the baby over the sharp fence and hands it over to a soldier behind him. The desperate attempt to ensure his child's safety took precedent and the haphazard manner of the situation being handled fueled anger online. But the US military was quick to respond to the criticism and shared that the baby was actually safe now.
Full statement from Marine Corps spokesperson Maj. Jim Stenger: pic.twitter.com/QdbqnLlgpx— Geoff Bennett (@GeoffRBennett) August 20, 2021
“The baby seen in the video was taken to a medical treatment facility on-site and cared for by medical professionals,” Maj. James Stenger, a spokesman for the Marines, wrote in an email, as reported by The New York Times. “I can confirm the baby was reunited with their father and is safe at the airport.” Stenger also noted that several children were saved and taken to treatment facilities in recent days. Sharing images and videos of US troops playing with children Stegner added, "This is a true example of the professionalism of the Marines on site, who are making quick decisions in a dynamic situation in support of evacuation operations."
The chaos & fear of people is a testament to the international community’s role in AFG’s downfall & their subsequent abandonment of Afghan people. The future for AFG has bn decided for its people without its people’s vote & now they live at the mercy of a terrorist group. #Kabul pic.twitter.com/k4bevc2eHE— Omar Haidari (@OmarHaidari1) August 19, 2021
Farhad Ansari, an Afghanistani now in the US, called the evacuation efforts in Kabul a "surreal, heartbreaking scene." Speaking to USA Today he said, "We've all seen the photo of that baby, what we have to understand how desperate a parent must be to hand their child over to a U.S. soldier, a complete stranger. It's terrifying, seeing my people so utterly scared of what's to come from the Taliban." A State Department spokesperson said that soldiers on the scene “have reunited a number of unaccompanied minors with their families and are continuing to work hard to reunite those who remain separated,” reported The Huffington Post.
PHOTOS: US Soldiers Comfort Babies At Kabul Airport— Punch Newspapers (@MobilePunch) August 21, 2021
American soldiers are pictured holding babies and providing water for some children at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Credit: Facebook | US Department of Defense pic.twitter.com/4c3IbRZO1A
“We are seeing large-scale displacement in what is now a humanitarian emergency,” Christopher Boian, a senior communications officer for the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, told The Washington Post. Thousands of families, many with small children, have been trying to flee the country. A senior officer of the British army told Sky News that his troops had no choice but to blockade the roads because the situation was out of control. "It was terrible, women were throwing their babies over the razor wire, asking the soldiers to take them, some got caught in the wire," he said. "I'm worried for my men, I'm counseling some, everyone cried last night."
“It was terrible, women were throwing their babies over the razor wire, asking the soldiers to take them, some got caught in the wire," (a senior British officer) told me. “I'm worried for my men, I'm counselling some, everyone cried last night." https://t.co/JjnwiCNPbi— Katty Kay (@KattyKay_) August 19, 2021
Other British soldiers also revealed that desperate mothers were throwing their babies at them. Hoping that they will save them, according to the New York Post. “The mothers were desperate, they were getting beaten by the Taliban. They shouted, ‘Save my baby!’ and threw the babies at us. Some of the babies fell on the barbed wire,” one British officer said. “It was awful what happened. By the end of the night, there wasn’t one man among us who was not crying.” Several videos of this nature have been shared and are making rounds on the internet.