U.S. officials confirmed on Friday that a baby seen in a viral video handed over to U.S. servicemen over a barbed wire fence at Kabul airport is now safe inside the perimeter, and that is in part thanks to the help of a Marine.
“I can confirm that the uniformed member depicted in the video is a Marine from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit,” Marine Corps spokesperson Major Jim Stenger said in a statement. “The baby seen in the video was taken to an on-site medical treatment center and treated by medical professionals.”
He said the child had been treated and found his father and both were safe at the airport.
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“This is a true example of the professionalism of the Marines on site, who make quick decisions in a dynamic situation in support of the evacuation operation,” said Stenger.
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Scenes of chaos and uncertainty in Kabul have shocked the world since the Taliban took over the city on Sunday and exiled Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country.
In a press briefing on Friday, President Biden defended his abrupt withdrawal, despite its catastrophic impact on the lives of Afghans. He brushed aside reports that allies had lost confidence in his administration’s haphazard handling of the crisis and claimed defense officials would later go back – including that al-Qaeda was “finished” in Afghanistan and that Taliban fighters did not “beat” Americans at Kabul checkpoints.
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A senior White House official told Fox News on Friday that US forces had evacuated 5,700 people from Afghanistan in the past 24 hours and 13,000 since August 14.
A group of 16 Republican senators on Friday sent a letter to the president asking him to use all means necessary to rescue the Americans and Afghan allies who are still trapped in the country, cut off from the airport by Taliban checkpoints.
It comes as militants go door-to-door, hunt down and kill Afghans who worked with Americans, especially interpreters and special forces commandos displaced from the overthrown Afghan National Army.
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