Army Gen. Steve Lyons, the head of U.S. Transportation Command, told reporters he was aware of three babies born to Afghans, though there could be more since “I don’t have a formal tracker.”
The most recent birth came Saturday when an Air Force C-17 landed at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. The mother went into labor on an evacuation flight and began experiencing complications due to low blood pressure. A decision was made to descend in altitude to increase air pressure in the aircraft, the Air Mobility Command said.
The move stabilized the plane and saved the mother’s life, officials said. The baby girl was delivered with the help of Air Force medical personnel. The baby and mother were taken to a medical facility and were in good condition.
“I really appreciate the news reporting on the baby being born as that flight came into Ramstein,” Lyons said. “As a matter of fact, there’s actually been more than that. Just an incredible, incredible operation ongoing, you know, just impressive work by our great airmen.”
The news of the birth came after footage emerged last week showing a Marine helping an infant over the top of a barbwire fence at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport. The child was reunited with its father and both were safe, a Marine spokesman said.
On Monday, the Pentagon said 37,000 people have been evacuated out of Afghanistan since August 14.
Lyons said the threat to planes leaving the airport is “significant” but declined to elaborate. He said officials have taken measures to mitigate the threat.
He added that roughly 450 passengers are being put on the C-17s and more than 200 aircraft are committed to evacuation missions.
“The idea is to keep those planes moving all the time, either by extending the crew day or preferably by swapping crews,” he said. “We are pushing the limits to do everything we can to get every single evacuee out of Kabul.”