Baby rescued by Marines at Kabul airport lives safely with family in Arizona
The crying baby seen in widely circulated photos and videos handing a barbed wire fence to a US soldier at Kabul airport has been reunited with his family and now lives happily in Arizona, according to local media.
His father Hameed, who was only identified by his first name for security reasons, was inside the perimeter of Hamid Karzai International Airport when he spotted his wife and newborn baby in the middle of the mass of people trying to flee Afghanistan, azfamily.com reported.
“That day, I handed my baby over to a complete stranger,” he told the outlet. “The only thing I trusted was that he was a Marine, and that my daughter would be safe.”
Marines were filmed pulling the baby from his father’s arms and lifting him over barbed wire to bring him to safety in a heartbreaking moment that caught the world’s attention amid the evacuation of the United States of the country controlled by the Taliban.
The family, including 8-week-old mom Sadia and Liya, are now safe and comfortable with friends in the Phoenix area, the outlet said.
Hameed, a five-year-old Afghan ally who worked in Kabul as a linguist and cultural advisor for military officials, said he spent the entire month of August at Kabul airport helping the United States in the evacuations.
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Meanwhile, the first-time dad was kept in a secure area and missed the birth of his daughter.
His wife had a difficult delivery, but had the strength to flee her home as the Taliban approached the capital. By August 12, Hameed said, it was clear they would have to leave.
“We have had reports that people are being killed or missing. Through my affiliation [with the military], I knew my house would be next. It was not a question of “if”, but of “when”, “he told the outlet.
On August 19, Sadia seized her identity papers, some money and some personal effects, and went to the airport with Liya, then only 16 days old.
At a checkpoint, the Taliban seized all of Sadia’s belongings before she and her baby joined the chaos outside the small airport gate. Hameed said he was able to see them from his side of the fence.
“They were using water cannons and flashbangs to control the crowd. Every time a bang went off I could see my daughter start to scream and cry. There was nothing I could do to help,” Hameed told azfamily.
He saw the Taliban beat people in the crowd as people walked through the doors with broken limbs and other serious injuries.
“I knew she would never get out of this. She would be crushed to death, God forbid, or seriously injured,” Hameed said.
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Desperate, Hameed showed his baby to a nearby Marine and asked if he could help him recover.
“He told me the only thing he could do was lift her over the barbed wire, but he said she would be hurt,” the father recalls. “I told him I would take the risk. I’d rather she be hurt than die.
In the now iconic photo, Hameed can be seen holding the Marine’s legs as he reaches over the wire and grabs the baby, handing it to Hameed.
It was the first time that the father had held his daughter in his arms. Two minutes later, he was forced to return to work with the evacuations, according to the report.
Sadia, still on the other side of the fence, had collapsed from heat exhaustion, but was able to walk through the door hours later, according to the outlet.
The family was put on a flight to the United States with other refugees later that day.
Hameed told azfamily that he has no idea what impact Liya’s images have had on the world.
“I think it was very captivating to see what was really going on. It’s one thing for politicians to go on TV and say how beautiful things are. field, and when you can see it with your own eyes. ”he said.
Although they are now safe, the family were left without any identification. Sadia and Liya also need medical attention, but Hameed cannot take them to see a doctor without insurance, according to the report.
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The father set up a GoFundMe account to help his family get back on their feet as they begin their new life.
He said he hopes to one day meet the Marine who helped Liya.
“Oh my God. I’d give him a hug. He literally saved my daughter’s life,” Hameed told the outlet.
Click here to read more in the New York Post.