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Updated on: Saturday, August 21, 2021, 09:53 AM IST

What's the story behind heartbreaking viral video of US soldier lifting baby over barbed wire in Afghanistan?

This image made available to AFP on August 20, 2021 by Omar Haidiri, shows a US Marine grabbing an infant over a fence of barbed wire during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on August 19, 2021. |

This image made available to AFP on August 20, 2021 by Omar Haidiri, shows a US Marine grabbing an infant over a fence of barbed wire during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on August 19, 2021. |

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As the Taliban take over Afghanistan, thousands have converged at Kabul in a desperate attempt to leave the war-torn country. Over the last few days, there have been several horrific visuals that have gone viral - from people falling off in midair after clinging to the wheels of a plane to near-stampedes and one US flight crammed with more than 600 people. But as it become increasingly more difficult for Afghan civillians to depart, a feeling of desperation and despair appears to have has descended.

A now viral video clip from the Taliban-guarded capital city show US Marines standing on the other side of barbed wire taking an child from among the assembled locals. The child, it's diaper nearly slipping off is held aloft amid the crowd of Afghans seeking to enter the airport. An uniformed US soldier can be seen bending down, across the wire to lift the child.

The clip has since garnered thousands of views, being picked up by news channels and widely shared across multiple social media platforms. But while some pass it off as an Afghan's last ditch attempt to send the child abroad and others use it to highlight the ground situation, there's more to the story.

According to officials from the United States, the baby had been taken only temporarily by the officials to provide medical care. As per Marine Corps spokesperson Major Jim Stenger, the child has since been reunited with their father and is "safe at the airport". The uniformed man in question is an official with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

"The parent asked the Marines to look after the baby because the baby was ill, and so the Marine you see reaching over the wall took it to a Norwegian hospital that's at the airport. They treated the baby and returned the child to the child's father," US defense department Spokesperson John Kirby was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

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But even as crisis grows and visuals highlighting the ongoing humanitarian crisis leave the world debating, not every moment is a tragedy. The US Department of Defense recently released a series of photos taken in and around Kabul's Hamid Karzai International Airport that show soldiers interacting with children, cradling babies and more. And the internet certainly approves.

A @USMC Marine with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command @SPMAGTF_CR_CC plays with children at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. | Photo: Department of Defense/Twitter

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U.S. military service members comfort infants at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. | Photo: Department of Defense/Twitter

U.S. military service members comfort infants at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. | Photo: Department of Defense/Twitter

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U.S. military service members comfort infants at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. | Photo: Department of Defense/Twitter

Even as President Biden dubs the ongoing evacuation from Afghanistan the 'most difficult and largest airlift' in history, officials say that they country has evacuated approximately 14,000 people since the end of July.

The US on Thursday airlifted around 3000 people from Afghanistan's Kabul airport through 16 flights, a White House official said. Among those, 350 were US citizens. Additional evacuees include family members of US citizens, SIV applicants and their families, and vulnerable Afghans.

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Published on: Saturday, August 21, 2021, 09:53 AM IST
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