The baby who was seen in a viral video being handed to a soldier over a wall near the Kabul international airport during the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan is now living with her family in Arizona.
A nine-second video of a U.S. Marine lifting a baby up over the wall to get her to safety during the Afghanistan evacuations went viral, highlighting the desperation of Afghans and U.S. allies to flee the country following the Taliban's rapid takeover.
The 16-week-old girl named Liya, only 17 days old when she was lifted over the wall, was evacuated to Arizona with her mother and her father, Hameed, AZ Family, a site affiliated with CBS 5, reported.
The family’s full names were not given for security reasons, according to the outlet.
Hameed was working in the airport to help aid the evacuations. He was a linguist and cultural advisor for the U.S. military for years and attended high-level meetings.
He said that after the Taliban took over, it became clear that they could not stay in their home any longer.
"We got intel that people were getting killed, or going missing. By my affiliation [with the military], I knew my home would be next. It wasn't a matter of 'if,' but 'when,'" Hameed said.
His wife gathered the family’s passports, money and clothes on Aug. 19 and made her way towards the airport, according to the news source.
"They were using water cannons and flashbangs to control the crowd. Every time a bang went off, I could see my daughter start screaming and crying. I couldn't do anything to help," Hameed recalled, as he was on the other side of the wall and could not get to them.
Hameed said that the Taliban were beating people trying to make it through to the airport. The linguist recalled thinking that his daughter would “never make it through. She'd be crushed to death, God forbid, or severely injured."
The Marine “told me the only thing he could do was lift her over the barbed wire, but he said she'd be hurt. I told him I'll take the chance. I'd rather her get hurt than die," Hameed said, according to the local outlet.
When the baby was hoisted over the wall, it was the first time that the father had met his child. Hameed had not been able to be with his wife during her difficult delivery two weeks earlier.
"That day I handed over my baby to a total stranger. The only thing I trusted is that he was a Marine, and that my daughter would be safe," he said.
Hameed had to wait for his wife to get through the gates before the whole family left Afghanistan for the U.S. Currently, they are struggling to get the health care they need.
"I'm in kind of a pickle right now because I can't take her to a doctor. I can't get her insurance. She doesn't have a Social (Security number). We've applied for it, but God knows how long it'll take," Hameed said.
He set up a GoFundMe account to help cover expenses.
"When she's older, I'll tell her she's a fighter. She made it through the worst of times at the beginning of her life," Hameed said of his daughter.