Home World News Afghan baby reunites with family after missing in Kabul airport chaos

Afghan baby reunites with family after missing in Kabul airport chaos

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He had disappeared on August 19 in the chaos of the evacuation of the Kabul airport. Sohail Ahmadi was handed over to a foreign soldier near the tarmac in the Afghan capital following the resumption of power by the Islamist Taliban on August 15. This child has just been reunited with his family last week after almost five months of separation.

The infant, then two months old, had been handed by his father to a soldier who overlooked the crowd panicked by the coming to power of the Taliban, who had just seized the Afghan capital. The father and the child had been separated. Despite extensive research, it was impossible for Mirza Ali Ahmadi to get her baby back. It was a taxi driver, Hamid Safi, who found him, crying and abandoned on the airport floor.

“If we had not found his family, we would have raised him like our own child”

“I brought it to women to breastfeed”, without success. “I continued to look for his family,” swears the 29-year-old who had gone to the airport to drop off his own evacuated brother. “So I called my wife and she told me to take the baby home.” The couple claims to have continued to search, unsuccessfully, for the child’s parents. They then named him Mohammad Abed and started raising him. “If we had not found his family, we would have protected and raised him like our own child,” continued Hamid Safi.

Kabul (Afghanistan), Sunday.  Taxi driver Hamid Safi kisses the child he discovered on the ground at Kabul airport.  AFP / Mohd Rasfan
Kabul (Afghanistan), Sunday. Taxi driver Hamid Safi kisses the child he discovered on the ground at Kabul airport. AFP / Mohd Rasfan AFP or licensors

For three days, Sohail’s real father searched for his son in the crowded airport. In desperation, the former US Embassy security guard flew to the United States with his wife and their four other children.

Kabul airport was stormed in August by tens of thousands of Afghans eager to leave the city along with the last American troops after 20 years of war. Many Afghans feared the return of the Islamists to power, recalling their cruel regime of the 1990s, or for fear of reprisals against collaborators of the former government and foreign forces.

Reuniting the family in the United States

It was only last week that Sohail’s family was able to track him down in Kabul, helped by social media and the police. The boy was entrusted to his grandfather, heartbreaking separations for the Safi couple and their three daughters. “I felt responsible for him like his mother,” explains Fatimah Safi, 27. “He used to wake up often at night (…) Now, when I wake up at night, he’s not there and that makes me cry”. “I am a mother. I understand that he will not always be with us and that he needs his parents, ”she continues. Her husband admits that returning the baby was “very difficult”.

Kabul (Afghanistan), Sunday.  The grandfather of the little boy found cries during an interview.  AFP / Mohd Rasfan
Kabul (Afghanistan), Sunday. The grandfather of the little boy found cries during an interview. AFP / Mohd Rasfan AFP or licensors

Sohail’s grandfather, Mirza Mohammad Qasemi, on Sunday invited the Safi family to his Kabul home to spend some time with the child. “They took care of him for five months and were very attached to him,” he says, adding that the Safi were initially reluctant to return the baby. He too has been looking for his grandson and now says he’s excited that Sohail can join his parents in the United States. They have contacted the American authorities, but the process could be long.

“It was difficult for my daughter. She was crying and not eating anything, ”says the old man, wiping away his tears and watching Sohail sleep on Fatimah’s thighs. Until Sohail joins his parents, his aunt will take care of him. On the phone Sunday, his father did not hide his joy: “We were in a sad state for the past five months (…) But when we found our baby, we were happy that God had given us back our child. “

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