The baby pictured in an iconic photograph of a mother handing over the infant to US soldiers while the evacuation to America was ongoing at Kabul airport during the Taliban coup has been found and reunited with his grandparents Reuters reported.
Sohail Ahmadi, the infant in the picture, was found at the airport and raised by Hamid Safi who is a taxi driver in Kabul. An emotional Safi who raised the boy as his own since discovering him at the airport handed him over to grandfather Mohammad Qasem Razawi, 67.
The baby was identified by Safi's neighbours who had seen a Reuter's report on the story where his mother Suraya and father Mirza Ali Ahmadi were forced to hand their son over the wall to what they thought were uniformed US soldiers as they feared their son would be crushed in the crowd which pressed forward to a flight to the US at Kabul airport in September. However they were separated as the Taliban forced the crowd away from the airport gate.
The Ahmadi family is now settled in an apartment in Michigan. They were told their son had been evacuated to Texas, but following months of enquiries and an appeal Red Cross, they were able to watch the reunion via video conferencing with great joy.
Hamid Safi had initially refused to hand over the child, forcing the boy's grandfather to file a kidnapping case with the local Taliban police who eventually settled the dispute. Safi initially demanded US asylum for himself and his family but was eventually compensated with $950 raising the boy for five months. Safi, who has three daughters, told Reuters in November that he had been overjoyed to get a boy and was intent on raising him as his own son.
"The grandfather of the baby complained to us and we found Hamid and based on the evidence we had, we recognized the baby," said Hamid Malang, the chief area controller of the local police station. "With both sides in agreement, the baby will be handed over to his grandfather," he said to Reuters on Saturday.
"We need to get the baby back to his mother and father. This is my only responsibility," grandfather Razawi said. "My wish is that he should return to them."
Sohail's plight has raised the issue of dozens, hundreds of other evacuated Afghani citizens who have also been separated from their loved ones and who have not received a response from officals. With no U.S. embassy in Afghanistan and international organizations overstretched, Afghan refugees have had trouble getting answers on the timing, or possibility, of complex reunifications like this one.