During the chaotic days of the U.S. military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, the image of a Marine holding a baby girl a few months old by the arm over a barbed-wire fence to get her to the side where the people who would make it onto a plane to the U.S. were. The image went around the world. It was recently confirmed that the child was reunited with her parents, and they are now living in Arizona, away from the danger of the Taliban.
When the Taliban took over the city of Kabul, Afghanistan, the U.S. military left the country and made haphazard attempts to bring thousands of Afghan citizens to the United States as refugees.
This caused Afghan parents, motivated by the terror of returning to the Taliban regime, to desperately try to secure their babies and children a future life outside the country by handing them over to strangers at the Kabul airport.
“The mothers were desperate, they were being beaten by the Taliban. They were shouting, ‘Save my baby!’ and they were throwing the babies at us. Some of the babies fell on the barbed wire,” a Parachute Regiment officer told Britain’s Independent newspaper.
“It was horrible what happened. By the end of the night, there wasn’t a man among us who wasn’t crying,” he continued.
One image, in particular, shocked the world, of a mother holding her baby out to a U.S. soldier over a barbed-wire fence, who, with one hand and juggling to keep from falling, manages to grab the child’s tiny arm with one hand and pull her over to the other side of the wall.
According to Fox News, the baby seen on screens worldwide is now with her mother and father living in Arizona, in a safe environment where they will look for a better future, far from the chaos they experienced a few days ago.
The baby’s father, Hameed, identified by his first name for security reasons, was inside the perimeter of Hamid Karzai International Airport when he saw his wife and newborn daughter amid the mass of people trying to cross the wall to flee Afghanistan.
Hameed, an Afghan ally who for five years worked in Kabul as a language and cultural adviser to U.S. military officials, said he spent the entire month of August at the Kabul airport assisting the U.S. with evacuations.
During that time, the first-time father stayed in a safe area but missed the birth of his daughter.
His wife had a difficult delivery but managed to muster the strength to flee their home as the Taliban approached the capital. By Aug. 12, Hameed said, it was clear they would have to leave the country.
“We got information that people were being killed or going missing. Because of my affiliation with the U.S. military, I knew my home would be next. It wasn’t a question of ‘if,’ it was a question of ‘when,'” Hameed said.
The young mother and baby girl made it to the airport before the Taliban stole all their belongings. However, the situation at the airport was chaotic, and it seemed impossible for them to cross to the other side of the fence.
Hameed said he could see them from the other side as he watched in despair as the Taliban beat people in the crowd. Some managed to enter through the gates with broken limbs and other serious injuries.
Desperate, Hameed pointed his baby out to a nearby Marine and asked if he could help him.
“He told me the only thing he could do was lift her over the barbed wire, but he said she would get hurt,” the father recalled. “I told him I would take my chances. I’d rather she get hurt than die.”
That’s the image now going around the world, where Hameed can is holding the Marine’s legs as he reaches out and grabs the baby, handing her to Hameed.
This was the first time Hameed was able to hold his daughter. Two minutes later, he was forced to go back to work with evacuations, according to the report.
“I handed my baby to a complete stranger that day,” Hameed said. “The only thing I trusted was that he was a Marine and that my daughter would be safe.”
The mother was left in the crowd on the other side of the fence, where she fainted from the heat, but hours later made it inside.
The entire family managed to get on a plane and travel to the United States as refugees by the end of the day. Hameed set up a GoFundMe account to help his family get back on their feet while they get stabilized with their new projects in their new life.