The baby shown in several viral photos being lifted over a security fence at the Kabul airport by Marines has now safely arrived in the US, has been reunited with her family, and is now thriving in a home in Arizona.
The baby, called Liya, is now living with her parents Hameed and Sadia. The three are being hosted by friends in the greater Phoenix area while they get established in the US. For security reasons, the family's last name is not being published.
Hameed, according to the New York Post, was stuck inside the Kabul airport at the time, as he had been working as a linguist and cultural adviser for the US military. He had been tasked with assisting in evacuations. Sadia, as soon as she had recovered from the difficult childbirth, came to the airport gate to try and gain entry, but Hameed despaired when he saw the conditions.
"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. I knew she’d never make it through. She’d be crushed to death, God forbid, or severely injured," Hameed said. He then asked a Marine if he could physically take Liya and bring her over.
"He told me the only thing he could do was lift her over the barbed wire, but he said she'd be hurt. I told him I'll take the chance. I’d rather her get hurt than die."
Hameed further mentioned he was surprised that the photos of the incident wound up going viral: "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."
Hameed continued, "That day I handed over my baby to a total stranger, the only thing I trusted is that he was a Marine, and that my daughter would be safe," also iterating that he would love to meet the Marine from the photo who saved Liya.
"Oh my God. I'd give him a hug. He literally saved my daughter's life."