It has now been over a month since the Taliban took over Afghanistan and as we assumed, things have gotten extremely restrictive throughout the country. But thankfully, some Afghans managed to escape the clutches of the extremist group, including a newborn baby who has now settled in Arizona.
Liya was only sixteen days old when she was lifted over barbed wire and into the arms of a marine officer who flew her to safety.
The chaos & fear of people is a testament to the international community’s role in AFG’s downfall & their subsequent abandonment of Afghan people. The future for AFG has bn decided for its people without its people’s vote & now they live at the mercy of a terrorist group. #Kabul pic.twitter.com/k4bevc2eHE— Omar Haidari (@OmarHaidari1) August 19, 2021
The newborn and her mother, Sadia, embarked on the journey to Hamid Karzai International Airport. Just like thousands of other desperate Afghans, they were hoping to flee the country now under extremist rule.
Sadia's husband, Hameed, saw his wife and daughter amongst the crowd of frantic people and helped them both to grab the attention of US marines, who were also present at the scene.
Hameed had been working alongside military officials in Kabul as a linguist and cultural advisor for 5 years. He was so dedicated to his job, that he even missed the birth of his daughter as he was based in a secure unit at the time. But it was precisely that fact that made him a target to the Taliban. He had been hearing stories about allies being killed or randomly going missing and given the nature of his job, he knew he and his family would be at risk of an attack.
As reported by local news outlets and the New York Post, Hameed said this of the incident:
"That day I handed over my baby to a total stranger," he told the outlet. "The only thing I trusted is that he was a marine, and that my daughter would be safe."
"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,'" he continued.
He then recalled the entire event, describing how hectic it was.
"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 told the local outlet. "I knew she'd never make it through. She'd be crushed to death, God forbid, or severely injured."
But that's when Hameed saw the marine and asked if he would take his baby daughter to safety.
This is a follow-up video on how life looks like in Kabul right now. Thank you WEST for the democracy you left for Afghans and the “war on terror” you fought in Afghanistan, it reached its true meaning and purpose. #Kabul #Afghanistan pic.twitter.com/58x0Ntz2CL— Omar Haidari (@OmarHaidari1) August 19, 2021
"He told me the only thing he could do was lift her over the barbed wire, but he said she'd be hurt," the first-time dad said. "I told him I'll take the chance. I'd rather her get hurt than die."
In what has now been a viral photo, you can see little Liya being passed over the barbed wire and into the arms of US military personnel.
"I think it was very captivating to see what was actually happening. It's one thing for politicians to go on TV and say how fine things are. It's totally something else on the ground, and when you can see it with your own eyes," he said.
The good news is that all the family is now safe living with family in Pheonix, Arizona.
Now hopefully little Liya can live a better life away from the Taliban with her family. It's more than what a lot of Afghans can say right now, so spare a thought for those still suffering in the country.