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Afghan baby handed to US soldier as Kabul fell finally reunited with his family

Sohail Ahmadi

Mohd RASFAN | AFP

Cerith Gardiner - published on 01/10/22

After months of not knowing what happened to their son, the Ahmadis are full of joy.

You may remember the moving photo of an Afghan father handing his tiny baby to an American soldier when the Taliban overtook the city of Kabul in August. As the capital was falling, its inhabitants desperately tried to flee to safety, with many heading to the airport. This was the case for the Ahmadi family.

When Mirza Ali Ahmadi, his wife Suraya, and their five children arrived at the airport, they were met with chaos. Ahmadi feared his youngest child, Sohail, would be crushed by the crowds, so with his son in his arms he stretched up high for an American soldier to take the baby, believing he and the rest of his family would not be far behind.

However, the situation at the airport disintegrated and the Ahmadis couldn’t find their son once they managed to get through the airport barriers. In the chaos, they were shepherded to safety and put on a flight to Texas. Officials said they believed their son had already made it out of Afghanistan on an earlier flight.

Once safely in the United States they were unable to find their two-month-old baby, and the complicated relations with the Taliban meant that it was very difficult for the family to glean any further information.

Back in Kabul, Hamid Safi, a taxi driver who’d been dropping off his brother’s family at the airport as they fled to safety, noticed the little boy. Unable to find any of his relatives, he thought it best to take the child home. According to a report in the Guardian, the taxi driver shared: “If his family is found, I will give him to them. If not, I will raise him myself.”

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Hamid Safi, a taxi driver who found Sohail Ahmadi, pats Sohail, who was separated from his parents at Kabul airport in the chaos of the US evacuation of Afghanistan in August 2021.

In the following days Safi, his wife, and their three daughters welcomed the baby, whom they called Mohammad Abed, into their family. For Safi, the little boy was a blessing as his mother’s dying wish was for him to have a son.

The family busily went about life, with photos of Sohail being shared on Facebook. Neighbors saw the photos and realized that it was the little boy who’d been missing for the last few months and news soon spread to Sohail’s family that he was alive and well .

The Ahmadis asked relatives who were still in Afghanistan to reach out to Safi to return the baby. The baby’s grandfather, Mohammad Qasem Razawi, went to the family and after a number of weeks the baby was returned to relatives in Afghanistan.

For the Safis, handing little Sohail back to his family was understandably very heartbreaking. As 67-year-old Rawazi explained:

“Hamid and his wife were crying. I cried too, but assured them that you both are young, Allah will give you male-child. Not one, but several. I thanked them both for saving the child from the airport.”

For Sohail’s parents, their reunion was a moment of great celebration after so many months of uncertainty. With the family now settled in Michigan, their main goal is to fly their son to the United States so they can finally enjoy life in safety together.

The loving gesture of the Safis in taking Sohail into their family and their hearts is a wonderful reminder of how even in complete chaos, there are always people willing to love. While God may still bless them with a son, he has already blessed them with generous hearts that saved the life of a little boy.

Tags:
AfghanistanChildrenFamily
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