The crying baby seen in widely circulated photos and videos being handed a barbed wire fence to an American soldier At the Kabul airport he has reunited with his family and now lives happily in Arizona, according to local media.
His father Hameed, who was just identified by name For security reasons, he was within the perimeter of Hamid Karzai International Airport when he saw his wife and their newborn amid the mass of people trying to flee Afghanistan. azfamily.com reported.
“That day I gave my baby to a complete stranger,” he told the outlet. “The only thing I was confident in was that he was a Marine and that my daughter would be safe.”
The Marines were filmed ripping the baby out of her father’s arms and lifting her over the barbed wire to bring her to safety, in a heartbreaking moment that caught the world’s attention amid US evacuations from the Taliban-controlled country.
The family, including their mother Sadia and 8-week-old Liya, are now safe and comfortable with friends in the Phoenix area, according to the outlet.
Dad Hameed, a five-year Afghan ally who worked in Kabul as a linguistic and cultural advisor to military officers, said he spent the entire month of August at the Kabul airport helping the United States with evacuations.
During that time, the new father was kept in a safe area and the birth of his daughter was missed.
His wife had a difficult delivery, but mustered the strength to flee their home when the Taliban approached the capital. By August 12, Hameed said, it was clear they would have to go.
“We got information that people were being killed or disappeared. By my affiliation [with the military], I knew my home would be next. It was not a question of ‘if’, but of ‘when’, “he told the outlet.
On August 19, Sadia took her identification documents, some cash and some belongings and headed to the airport with Liya, who was only 16 days old at the time.
At a checkpoint, Sadia said the Taliban seized all her 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 an explosion went off, I could see my daughter start screaming and crying. I couldn’t do anything to help, ”Hameed told azfamily.
He saw how 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 make it. She would be crushed to death, God forbid, or seriously injured, ”Hameed said.
Desperate, Hameed pointed his baby to a nearby Marine and asked if he could help her get through it.
“He told me the only thing I could do was lift her over the barbed wire, but he said I would get hurt,” recalled the father. “I told him I would take a chance. I’d rather she get 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.
This was the first time the father hugged his daughter. Two minutes later, he was forced to go back 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 get through the gate 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 had no idea how shocking Liya’s images had been around the world.
“I think it was very captivating to see what was really happening. It’s one thing for politicians to go on television and say how good things are. It’s something totally different on the ground, and when you can see it with your own eyes, ”he said.
Although they are now safe, the family was left without any identification. Sadia and Liya also need medical attention, but Hameed cannot take them to see an uninsured doctor, according to the report.
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He said he hopes to meet the Marine who helped Liya sometime.
“Oh my God. I’d give him a hug. He literally saved my daughter’s life,” Hameed said to the middle.