Missing Afghan baby passed to US soldier as Kabul fell is reunited with family

Image: Twitter

A baby who went missing after being handed to a US serviceman over the wall of Kabul airport, to save him being crushed as crowds fled the Taliban, has been reunited with his family. The missing Afghan baby was lost when only two months old when his parents made the heart-wrenching decision to pass him to a soldier ahead of themselves to try and keep him safe from the crush.
Sohail Ahmadi’s parents – Mirza Ali Ahmadi and his wife Suraya – passed him to a US serviceman on 19 August. It took them more than half an hour to get to the other side of the fence themselves – but when they did, their baby was nowhere to be found. They spent days searching for any sight of him and were told he may have been evacuated out of the country by himself.
Mr Ahmadi, who had worked as a security guard at the American embassy, was put on an evacuation flight to Qatar with his wife and four other children, eventually landing in the US. It took until November for the missing Afghan baby to be located and unfortunately, he was still in Kabul.
Sohail had been found at the airport by a 29-year-old taxi driver named Hamid Safi who took him home to raise as his own. It took more than seven weeks of negotiations and pleas, as well as the intervention of Taliban police who detained Mr Safi, to get the man to give Sohail back to his grandmother and other relatives still in Kabul.
The infant’s family are now trying to reunite him with his parents and siblings in the US, reports the BBC.
Mr Safi said he found Sohail alone and crying on the same day his parents had passed the missing baby over the fence. He said he could not find the baby’s family and decided to take him home to his wife and children. Mr Safi has three daughters but said his mother’s greatest wish before she died was for him to have a son.
In November he said he decided: “I am keeping this baby. If his family is found, I will give him to them. If not, I will raise him myself.”
Following a story being published about the missing Afghan baby in November, Mr Safi’s neighbours posted about his whereabouts on a translated version of the article. Sohail’s grandfather, Mohammad Qasem Razawi, said he brought Mr Safi gifts – including a slaughtered sheep and clothing – and asked him to give the child back. But he said Mr Safi refused.
Eventually, they contacted the Taliban police to report a kidnapping. Mr Safi denied kidnapping Sohail and the complaint was dismissed. The local police commander held to arrange a settlement, with Mr Razawi agreeing to pay Mr Safi about 100,000 Afghani (£700) for the cost of looking after the child for five months.
The baby’s parents said they were overjoyed to see their son again. “There are celebrations, dance, singing,” said Mr Razawi. “It is just like a wedding indeed.”
He said Mr Safi and his family were devastated to lose Sohail. “Hamid and his wife were crying,” he said. “I cried too, but assured them that you both are young, Allah will give you male child. Not one, but several. I thanked both of them for saving the child from the airport.”

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Written by

Claire Gordon


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