The pilot of the flight said the attendants that staff purchased items "on their own initiative" the night before the trip.
A flight crew gifted special items to children fleeing Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban's taking over the country. After US troops withdrew from the country, it didn't take long for the Taliban to topple the Afghanistan government. Thousands of people have been trying to flee the country fearing for their lives. Many of them who were able to leave the country was put on an emergency flight out of Germany and the crew of Delta Airlines decided to gift them items from their own pocket. Pilot Alexander Kahn said the staff purchased items "on their own initiative" the night before the trip. "Spending their own money, they purchased diapers and wipes and candy and balloons and coloring books and other things they knew the evacuees were going to need," Kahn told CNN.
As the son of a Holocaust survivor, Delta Airlines pilot Alexander Kahn says helping Afghans evacuate was "special."— New Day (@NewDay) August 27, 2021
"I was able to put myself in their position," he said. "This is going to be a frightening experience ... But it has the potential to be an excellent experience." pic.twitter.com/IXwJdqYYY5
Kahn said the staff was aware the people fleeing the country probably didn't carry anything with them and would need all the help one could offer. "We knew these evacuees were coming with no opportunity to prepare and to take things that you and I would prepare for an international flight," said Kahn. The pilots praised the flight attendants for their "incredibly professional" attitude and "exemplary service" during the flight. Kahn added that the pilots were moved by the gesture and offered to reimburse their expenses but the flight attendants refused any compensation. In the past two weeks, more than 100,000 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan, reported AP.
The Delta crew for the emergency evacuation was stationed at the United States' Ramstein Air Base the night before and that's when Pilot Kahn knew "how special this operation was going to be." For Kahn, this was extra special. He is the son of a Holocaust survivor who immigrated to the United States after being liberated from the Buchenwald concentration camp. He recalled that his father had migrated to the US with nothing but 'the clothes on his back,' much like many others. They had no other family or English skills. "[My father] came to the United States not much different than the people that are coming to the United States now," said Kahn, referring to those escaping Afghanistan. "I was able to put myself in their position and realize that they're starting a new life," said Kahn. "This is going to be a frightening experience for them. But it has the potential to be an excellent experience for them."
Kahn had nothing but words of praise for his team. "The American people have always come together and helped when it was time to help, and the military community overseas has always come together when it was time to help," he said. The United States withdrew the last of its military out of Kabul, officially ending a 20-year war in Afghanistan. August 31 is the last deadline for evacuating people from the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. The Biden administration has also come under heavy criticism for not planning the evacuation of American people, troops, and its Afghanistan allies that will be the target of the Taliban in the coming months. Last week, a US drone said to be targeting a suspected ISIS-K suicide bomber killed ten members of one family including seven children, reported CNN. "We are not ISIS or Daesh and this was a family home — where my brothers lived with their families," said a member of the family.
America has come under heavy criticism for the war that has lasted 20 years, before leaving the country in a position that enabled the Taliban to take over. The war was launched on October 7, 2001, in response to the 9/11 attacks. America has spent 2 trillion, killing at least 47,000 Afghan civilians, and costing the lives of 5,200 U.S. military troops during their time there. The war has also displaced at least 2,500,000 Afghans from their country. While this is the official number, the real number may be much higher, state U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR.
According to UNICEF, children have suffered heavily from the protracted war, due to displacement, trauma due to the horrific events they have witnessed, disrupted schooling, and from being recruited to armed groups. The UN body noted that half of all children under 5 in the country are malnourished. At least 3,700,000 children in Afghanistan are out of school, and 60 percent of them are girls, reported UNICEF.