Afghanistan: The baby that was lost in the chaos of airlifts is finally found and returned home to its family

Sohail Ahmadi, a baby of two months, disappeared in August as thousands fled Afghanistan after it was overthrown by the Taliban.

The baby was found in Kabul by Hamid Safi, a taxi driver aged 29, who had seen him at the airport. He then took him home to care for him.

After seven weeks worth of negotiations and pleas, and then a brief detention in Taliban police custody, Safi finally returned the child to his grandfather, who was jubilant, and other Kabul family members.
They indicated that they would seek to reunite him with his siblings and parents who had been evacuated to the United States several months ago.
Mirza Ali Ahmadi, the boy’s father and a security guard at US Embassy, feared that their son would be crushed by the crowd near the airport gates.

Ahmadi stated to Reuters in early November that he had given Sohail the airport walls to a soldier in uniform who he believed was an American. He was certain that he would make it the remaining five metres (15 feet) to the entrance in order to reclaim him.

At that instant, Taliban forces drove the crowd back. Ahmadi, his wife, and four of their other children would not be able to enter for another half hour.

However, the baby was not found.

Ahmadi stated that he was desperate to find his son at the airport, but officials told him that he likely had been separated from the family and could be reunited later.

The rest of the family was evacuated, eventually landing at a Texas military base. The family didn’t know for months where their son was.
This case highlights the suffering of many parents who were separated from their children by the US’s hasty withdrawal and evacuation efforts from the country following a 20-year conflict.
Afghan refugees are having difficulty getting information about the timing or possibility of complicated reunifications, despite there not being an American embassy in Afghanistan.

On Saturday, the US Department of Defense, State Department and Department of Homeland Security didn’t respond to our requests for comment.

You are the only one in the airport

Ahmadi and his family were separated with their baby on the same day that Ahmadi was taken from them. Safi, who had given a ride to his brother’s family as they were also evacuated, slipped through Kabul’s airport gates.

Safi claimed that he found Sohail crying on the ground alone. He said that he tried unsuccessfully to find the baby’s parents, but failed. After this, he decided to bring the infant home to his children and wife. Safi is the father of three daughters and stated that his mother wanted him to have a boy.

He decided that he would keep the baby. If his family is located, I will give the baby to them. “If not, I’ll raise him myself,” he stated to Reuters in a November interview.

Safi stated to Reuters that he quickly incorporated the child in his family and took the baby to the doctor to have a check-up. They called the baby Mohammad Abed. He also posted photos of all the children on his Facebook.
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Following the Reuters story on the missing child, Safi’s neighbors recognized the photos and made comments about his whereabouts in a translated version.

Ahmadi reached out to his relatives in Afghanistan, including his father in law Mohammad Qasem Razawi (67), to ask for Safi’s return to Sohail.

Razawi stated that he traveled to the capital two days and two night carrying gifts, including a slaughtered lamb, several pounds worth of walnuts and clothing for Safi and family.

Safi, however, refused to release Sohail and insisted that he wanted to be evacuated with his family from Afghanistan. Safi’s brother, who was evacuated from Afghanistan to California, stated that Safi, his family, and their applications for entry into the USA have not been submitted.
The family of the baby sought assistance from the Red Cross. Although the Red Cross has a stated mission of helping people separated by international crises, they said they received very little information. Red Cross spokesperson said that it doesn’t comment on individual cases.

After feeling exhausted, Razawi called the Taliban police to report a kidnapping. Reuters heard from Safi, who said he denies the allegations and that he was caring about the baby, not kidnapping it.

She was sold to a stranger so her family could eat as Afghanistan crumbles

The local police commander said that he assisted in arranging a settlement. This included an agreement signed by both parties with thumbprints. Razawi claimed that the baby’s parents eventually agreed to pay Safi about 100,000 Afghani ($950), for expenses incurred caring for him over five months.

“The grandfather of this baby complained to us, and we found Hamid, and based upon the evidence we had we recognized the child,” Hamid Malang said, chief area controller at the local police station. “Both sides have reached an agreement and the baby will now be given to his grandfather,” he stated on Saturday.

In the presence and tears of police officers, the baby was finally returned home to his parents.

Razawi said that Sohail was the loss of Safi, his wife and their family. “Hamid and his wife were crying. I also cried with them, but I assured them that they are both young and Allah will give them a male child. I didn’t say one, but many. Razawi stated, “I thanked them both for saving the child at the airport.”

Reuters reported that the parents of the baby were delighted to have been able see their child’s reunion via video chat.

Razawi stated, “There is celebrations, dancing, singing.” It is very similar to a wedding.

Ahmadi, his wife, and other children were able, in December, to leave the military base to resettle in a Michigan apartment. They hope that Sohail will be able to come to the United States soon.

“We must get the baby back from his mother and father. His grandfather stated that this is his only responsibility. “My wish for him is that he would return to them.”