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Italian diplomat in Kabul goes viral with photos helping child flee Afghanistan

@EttoreSequi | Twitter

Gelsomino Del Guercio - published on 09/19/21

Tommaso Claudi stayed as long as he could to help other Italians and Afghans flee the country.

The photos of him helping a child over a wall during evacuation operations at the Kabul airport have gone around the world. Tommaso Claudi, part of the diplomatic team at the Italian consulate in Kabul, worked non-stop as the country fell once again into the hands of the Taliban. He waited to evacuate until the last Italian flight out of the country on August 28, staying as long as he could to help other Italians and Afghans flee the country.

In the photo, Claudi—wearing his bulletproof vest and with a helmet hanging from around his neck—lifts a child from the arms of another man, saving him from the crowd of waiting people, including women and children, under the watchful eye of a soldier (Avvenire, August 23).

The last Italian diplomat left in Kabul

Tommaso Claudi, the second secretary of the consular chancellery in Kabul, was the last Italian diplomat to remain in the country recaptured by the Taliban. He stayed after the ambassador had already left.

“Thank you, Tommaso,” tweeted the Secretary General of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ettore Sequi. “You’ve brought honor to your country,” Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio told him when he arrived at the airport in Rome. 

Even after leaving Afghanistan, he has continued his efforts to help Italians and Afghans leave the country, according to Italian news outlet Sky tg24

Claudi is originally from Camerino, where his family during recent days has chosen to protect him with silence. “His mother is especially afraid, after he has been given this visibility,” explained a close relative of the young man.

The diplomat, who turned 31 on August 30, has a robust resume with two university degrees: one in Linguistics at the University of Pavia, the second in International Relations at Catholic University in Milan. His diplomatic career began in September 2017.

After the Taliban started to take control of the country again, he lived in a room inside the diplomatic garrison at the airport, where worked relentlessly for the repatriation of Italians and Afghans.

“I’m proud and proud of what he’s doing. He’s behaving with a lot of courage and a sense of duty,” said his uncle Corrado Zucconi, past president of the Camerino Bar Association, speaking to local journalists before absolute secrecy fell.

He’s an athlete, passionate about basketball and cycling, reports Sky tg24. He’s also very active on Twitter, where he tweets “messages of peace and brotherhood between the Afghan and Italian people and the defense of women’s rights.”

Tags:
Acts of KindnessAfghanistanInspiring stories
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