At least three babies have been born amid chaotic evacuation efforts out of Afghanistan, military officials said on Monday.
Army Gen. Steve Lyons, chief of the United States Transport Command, told reporters he was aware of three babies born to Afghans, although there may be more since “I don’t have no formal tracker “.
The most recent birth came on Saturday when an Air Force C-17 landed at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. The mother gave birth on an evacuation flight and began to experience complications from low blood pressure. A decision was made to descend to altitude to increase air pressure on the plane, Air Mobility Command said.
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The move stabilized the plane and saved the mother’s life, officials said. The baby girl was delivered with the help of Air Force medical personnel. The baby and mother were taken to a medical center and were in good condition.
“I really enjoy the reporting of the baby’s birth as this flight arrived at Ramstein,” Lyons said. “Actually, there’s been more than that. Just an amazing, amazing operation going on, you know, just awesome work from our great aviators.”
The news of the birth came after images were released last week showing a marine helping an infant over a barbed wire fence at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. The child was reunited with his father and both were unharmed, a Marines spokesperson said.
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On Monday, the Pentagon said 37,000 people had been evacuated from Afghanistan since August 14.
Lyons said the threat to planes leaving the airport was “significant”, but declined to elaborate. He said authorities had taken steps to mitigate the threat.
He added that around 450 passengers are on board the C-17s and more than 200 planes are engaged in evacuation missions.
“The idea is to keep these planes moving all the time, either by extending the crew day, or preferably by swapping crews,” he said. “We are pushing the boundaries to do all we can to get every evacuee out of Kabul.”
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Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Monday he would consider leaving US troops in Afghanistan after August 31, a date the Taliban sees as a deadline for the Americans to leave.
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