U.S. officials confirmed Friday that a baby seen in viral video being handed to American service members over the top of a barbwire fence at Kabul’s airport is now safe inside the perimeter, and it is in part due to the help of a Marine.
“I can confirm the uniformed service member depicted in the video is a Marine with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit,” Marine Corps spokesman Maj. Jim Stenger said in a statement. “The baby seen in the video was taken to a medical treatment facility on site and cared for by medical professionals.”
He said the child was treated and reunited with his or her father, and both were safe at the airport.
“This is a true example of the professionalism of the Marines on site, who are making quick decisions in a dynamic situation in support of evacuation operation,” Stenger said.
Scenes of chaos and uncertainty in Kabul have shocked the world since the Taliban reclaimed the city on Sunday and Afghan’s exiled president, Ashraf Ghani, fled the country.
In a news briefing Friday, President Biden defended his abrupt withdrawal, despite its catastrophic impact on Afghan lives. He brushed off reports that allies have lost faith in his administration’s haphazard handling of the crisis and made claims that defense officials later had to walk back – including that al Qaeda is “done” in Afghanistan and that Taliban fighters were not “beating” Americans at Kabul checkpoints.
A senior White House official told Fox News Friday that U.S. forces have evacuated 5,700 people from Afghanistan in the last 24 hours and 13,000 since Aug. 14.
A group of 16 Republican senators sent a letter to the president Friday demanding he use all means necessary to rescue Americans and Afghan allies who are still trapped in the country, cut off from the airport by Taliban checkpoints.
It comes amid reports that militants are going house-to-house, hunting down and killing Afghans who worked with Americans, especially interpreters and displaced special forces commandos from the toppled Afghan National Army.