The Afghan father of a newborn baby pulled to safety by a Marine over a wall lined with barbed wire at Kabul airport says he met her for the first time that day, and the family have now settled in Arizona.
Hameed, whose full name has not been revealed, said he was inside the perimeter of Hamid Karzai International Airport when he saw his wife and newborn in the human crush, and begged the Marine to lift the baby over.
The first-time father said he was living at Kabul airport throughout August, serving as a linguist to assist US Marines with the evacuation effort and had missed the birth of his daughter 16 days earlier.
‘The only thing I trusted is that he was a Marine and that my daughter would be fine,’ Hameed, who’d worked with American troops for five years, told CBS.
He added that he now plans to give Liya, who is eight weeks old, the middle-name ‘Marine’ in honor of the troops who rescued her.
Hameed, pictured with wife Sadia and 8-week-old Liya, are now living in Phoenix, Arizona
Hameed said he planned to give his daughter the middle-name ‘Marine’
Hameed said he helped a Marine, pictured, pull his daughter, Liya, over a fence on August 19 in order to secure his daughter’s safety during the chaotic evacuation effort at Kabul airport
Hameed said while he was living at the airport, he unable to leave to meet his newborn daughter and could only talk to his wife, Sadia, over the phone as she explained that she had gone through a difficult delivery.
On August 19, he said he instructed Sadia to flee to the airport as reports came in about collogues and other American allies going missing as the Taliban completed its take over of Afghanistan.
‘We got intel that people were getting killed, or going missing. By my affiliation [with the military], I knew my home would be next. It wasn’t a matter of ‘if,’ but ‘when,” Hameed told CBS.
Sadia and Liya rushed to Kabul airport with all their belongings, but Hameed claimed that by the time they made it to the checkpoint near the airport, the Taliban had stolen all their identification and cash, leaving them with hundreds of others trying to get through the airport gate.
Hameed said that the Taliban had been brutal in its security around the airport, beating evacuees and using water cannons and flashbangs to control the crowd.
He said held his daughter for two minutes before handing her off to the Marine for safety as he turned his attention to getting his wife to safety. She had collapsed from exhaustion before reaching the airport gate. Hours later, Sadia was able to get though the gate and the family was reunited as they prepared for their evacuation flight
Hameed, his wife Sadia and their daughter Liya were evacuated from Kabul on a US flight in August
He said he spotted his daughter in the chaos from the other side of the fence and watched for hours as his family tried to make through the gate.
‘I knew she’d never make it through. She’d be crushed to death, God forbid, or severely injured.’
Desperate, Hameed said he pleaded with a Marine standing on a vehicle along the barbed-wired fence to help get his baby through.
‘He told me the only thing he could do was lift her over the barbed wire, but he said she’d be hurt. I told him I’ll take the chance. I’d rather her get hurt than die,’ he said.
He said the Marine agreed, and with Hameed holding onto the soldier’s legs to steady him, they were able to lift Liya over the barrier, allowing Hameed to hold her for the first time.
He said held his daughter for two minutes before handing her off to the Marine for safety as he turned his attention to getting his wife to safety. She had collapsed from exhaustion before reaching the airport gate.
Hours late, Sadia was able to get though the gate and the family was reunited as they prepared for their evacuation flight.
‘What was heartbreaking is, I was inside and had somebody to pull my daughter over the wire. There were thousands of others who didn’t have that opportunity,’ Hameed said.
Hundreds of evacuees crowded the entrance to Kabul airport. Hameed claimed the Taliban used water canons, flash bangs and beating to keep the crowd in order
The family was quickly reunited after the dramatic hand-off, and they did not learn of their viral video fame until they landed in America
Hameed said he learned about the now iconic video when the family landed in America, agreeing that it served as a symbol about the reality in Afghanistan.
‘I think it was very captivating to see what was actually happening. It’s one thing for politicians to go on TV and say how fine things are. It’s totally something else on the ground, and when you can see it with your own eyes.’
While the family is safe in Phoenix, they have found new struggles. Hameed said his wife and daughter have no identification and are in need of medical care. s family’s medical expenses. The page has raised more than $12,000 as of Friday.
Hameed added that he hopes to be able to meet the man who carried his baby to safety.
‘Oh my God. I’d give him a hug. He literally saved my daughter’s life,’ Hameed said.
A Marine in the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit holds a baby during the evacuation of Hamid Karzai International Airport on August 20. Several solders rescued infants during evacuation
Marine who introduced himself at Trump rally as ‘the guy who pulled the baby over the wall’ in Kabul is NOT the soldier in viral photo
The US Marine Corps has denied that the soldier under investigation for appearing at a Trump rally last weekend is the same troop who lifted a baby over the wall to safety at Kabul airport.
Lance Corporal Hunter Clark ‘was not the individual who lifted the child over a wall in the viral image’ at Hamid Karzai International Airport in August, the a US Marine Corps spokesperson told DailyMail.com.
Trump had invited Clark to his rally in Georgia last Saturday, where the former president and Marine both boasted about his supposed heroic actions captured on camera.
‘You saw him. He did a great job,’ Trump said, referring to the viral video and photo.
An emotional Clark even introduced himself as the ‘guy who pulled the baby over the wall’ and teared up as the crowd chanted ‘USA’.
But the Marine Corps confirmed that Clark was not the man in the August 19 viral photo, although it is not clear whether there were any other instances of US troops hoisting babies over the wall at the Kabul airport during the chaotic US withdrawal, CNN reports.
While many Marines were seen helping desperate Afghans to safety during the airlift, Clark has yet to provide specific details of when he helped the child.
The US Marine Corps would not comment on whether Clark appeared anywhere in the video of the baby being lifted over the fence.
Marine Lance Corporal Hunter Clark (right) is under investigation after he appeared on stage with former President Donald Trump (left) at a rally in Perry, Georgia on Saturday
It is, however, against US Defense Department rules for active-duty troops to ‘speak before a partisan political gathering, including any gathering that promotes a partisan political party, candidate, or cause.’
‘The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) has initiated a command investigation regarding LCpl Hunter Clark’s attendance at the event last weekend to determine if any DoD policies were violated,’ Captain Kelton Cochran, a spokesman for the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit said in a statement.
‘Any details pertaining to this incident are not releasable while the investigation is being conducted,’ Cochran added.
Clark did not wear his Marine uniform while on stage with Trump and he did not campaign for any political candidate – even though the former president was there to rally for three different Republican candidates in Georgia.
The marine’s mother, Peggy Clark, told CNN that Clark would not be commenting on the ongoing investigation.
‘He’s asked that I not give out any information right now,’ she said. ‘He can’t do any interviews or speak with anybody right now. I’m sorry.’