The U.S. Central Command Public Affairs uploads photos of U.S. marines comforting infants of Afghan parents. Slight consolation for those outside Kabul airport who could not get flights out of the country now ruled by the Taliban.
The swift takeover of Afghanistan by the militant group had left little chance for reactions and put many people in the country at significant risk. So far, the evacuation progress has been lousy, chaotic, and nerve-wracking, especially with the militant group not entirely sticking to their words of peace and seeking no vengeance.
In Kabul airport alone, Taliban fighters reportedly used whips, gunfire, and sharp objects on desperate crowds, not caring if they hurt women or children.
The moments of last hope came for Afghan mothers, who were seen passing their beloved babies to strangers outside of Kabul airport, hoping their children could escape. Those images swarmed on social media.
“The mothers were desperate, they were getting beaten by the Taliban. They shouted, ‘Save my baby!’ and threw the babies at us. Some of the babies fell on the barbed wire,” a Parachute Regiment officer told the UK’s Independent.
The U.S. Central Command Public Affairs had some messages to send back to the mothers who had to face the chance of never seeing their kids again: some infants were being tended by U.S. soldiers.
The photos were taken at Kabul’s international airport, where thousands of NATO and American citizens, as well as Afghan refugees who collaborated with the West throughout the “war on terror,” have been awaiting evacuation in the days since the country’s government and military forces crumbled.
While the child’s identity is unknown, the marine is claimed to be attached to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) in North Carolina, according to the Independent.
On Tuesday, 185 children were among 823 Afghans on board a U.S. military plane that evacuated them from the country. With a deadline of Aug. 31 looming, more flights are scheduled in the coming days.
The U.S. has been chastised for failing to foresee the Taliban recapturing Afghanistan just weeks after it entirely withdrew, as well as for unwitting measures to ensure evacuation of individuals facing Taliban retaliation.
In the latest update by the Pentagon, one infant who was recorded being given to a U.S. marine via the wire wall at Kabul airport had been reunited with its father.
According to Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, the Marines were told the unidentified baby was sick and asked for their help.
“So the Marine you see reaching over the wall took it to a Norwegian hospital that is at the airport. They treated the child and returned the child to the child’s father,” he said.