A photo of a US marine holding a baby in his arms amid the evacuation of Americans and Afghan civilians from Afghanistan’s Kabul has gone viral as evacuations continue in the aftermath of the Taliban retaking Afghanistan five days ago.
The image, which was shared to Twitter on Friday by Task and Purpose, a military news website, appears to show a marine calming an infant, and cradling the child in his arms.
It was taken at the international airport in Kabul, from where several thousand NATO and American civilians, as well as Afghan refugees who worked with the West during the “war on terror”, have been evacuated in the days since Afghanistan’s government and armed forces collapsed.
While it is not known who the child is, the marine was said to be assigned to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), which is headquartered in North Carolina.
Dozens of Twitter users retweeted the image, with one writing that “Military members are the VERY BEST of us. God Bless every one serving and bring them all home.”
Baby handed over barbed-wire to US Marines in Afghanistan
In a heart-rending video that surfaced on Friday, a crying baby was seen being handed over a barbed-wire fence to US Marine troops at the Kabul airport. The US Department of Defense later confirmed the baby had been reunited with its father and “is safe at the airport”, The New York Times reported.
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said the infant required urgent medical care. The baby was treated at a Norwegian hospital and later reunited with its family, Kirby said on Friday. The US Marine Corps said the baby was safe at the airport.
This has broken my heart .., a mum handing her baby to an American soldier today to be evacuated in Kabul ..💔💔💔 I know a lot of us find it hard to see what’s going on around the world but please pay attention, we can help and use ya voice please https://t.co/Db6Hzn35Un pic.twitter.com/A1Un37jIdf
— MAX (@ThisIsMax) August 19, 2021
“I can confirm the uniformed service member depicted in the video is a Marine with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. The baby seen in the video was taken to a medical treatment facility on site and cared for by medical professionals,” Marine Corps spokesperson Major Jim Stenger said in a statement.
Reports have said multiple Afghan families, desperate to escape the new Taliban regime, were seen throwing their babies over the wired fences surrounding the Kabul airport.
Over 12,700 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan by US forces in the last week, since the Taliban swiftly seized control of the nation. On Friday, the US was forced to pause its evacuation flights for around eight hours after processing facilities in Qatar reached capacity.
US President Joe Biden on Friday vowed to bring all Americans trapped in Afghanistan back home. Biden is facing criticism for the chaotic scenes at the airport where Afghan nationals have thronged in a bid to flee the country. The Kabul airport is the only way out of Afghanistan at present.