Middle East/North Africa

Afghan family searching for baby who went missing amid US evacuation: report

An Afghan family is searching for their two-month old son who went missing in the chaos of the U.S. evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul after he was handed to a U.S. soldier on Aug. 19, Reuters reports.

Mirza Ali, who was employed as a security guard at the U.S. Embassy for 10 years, was stuck with his family outside the fence at the airport trying to get in when a U.S. soldier asked them if he needed help. Fearing for his son’s life in the crowd, Ali handed him over to the soldier, the report said.

However, the family faced delays getting through the airport checkpoint and once they were inside they could not find their son, named Sohail. 

Ali spoke to Reuters through a translator and said that a military commander told him his child had been sent to a special area for children, as it was too dangerous at the airport. However, he was not found there either. 

The report adds that Sohail might have been evacuated by himself, according to civilian officials.

“They said ‘we don’t have resources to keep the baby here,'” Ali said, according to Reuters.

The rest of the family was later put on an evacuation flight to Qatar and then to the U.S. via Germany, and still has not been reunited with their child. The family is now based in Texas while awaiting resettlement.

“We are committed to ensuring the protection of unaccompanied children. While we generally don’t comment on specific cases, the U.S. government is aware of this case and we are working with our international partners and the international community to explore every avenue to locate the child, which includes an international amber alert that was issued through the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children,” the State Department said in a statement to The Hill.

The Reuters report added that a U.S. government official familiar with the situation said “the case had been flagged for all the agencies involved, including the U.S. bases and overseas locations.”

The Biden administration has previously said that more than 124,000 people were evacuated from Afghanistan. However, independent analysts estimate that more than 100,000 people who fall into priority categories for evacuation were left behind. 

— Updated at 5:05 p.m.

Tags Afghanistan evacuation

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