The. U.S. military has released official photographs showing soldiers assisting civilians at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan during the mass evacuation to escape the Taliban regime.
Pictures depicted babies being held by soldiers, water being distributed, and a small child being lifted by an American and British soldier.
A viral video recently surfaced of an American soldier reaching over a wall topped with barbed wire to lift an infant out of the crowd of Afghans desperate to escape the country. Onlookers caught the moment on camera. The video shows someone near the front of the wall hoisting the child up, just within reach of soldiers on top of the wall.
A soldier used one arm to stabilize himself above the wire and the other to grab the baby. He then passed the child to another soldier.
It is unclear what happened to the child after the troops took procession.
President Joe Biden vowed to bring all remaining Americans in Afghanistan back to the United States. Following chaotic scenes at the airport after Kabul fell the Taliban, Pentagon authorities reported that thousands of evacuations had taken place over the past week.
Army Maj. Gen. Hank Taylor, Joint Staff deputy director for regional operations, told Pentagon reporters Saturday that the U.S. has evacuated 17,000 people through the Kabul airport since Aug. 15. About 2,500 have been Americans, he said. U.S. officials have estimated there are as many as 15,000 Americans in Afghanistan, but acknowledge they don’t have solid numbers. In the past day, about 3,800 civilians were evacuated from Afghanistan through a combination of U.S. military and charter flights, Taylor said. Three flights of Afghan evacuees have arrived at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C.
Remaining in Afghanistan means adapting to life under the Taliban, who say they seek an "inclusive, Islamic" government, will offer full amnesty to those who worked for the U.S. and the Western-backed government and have become more moderate since they last held power from 1996 to 2001. They also have said — without elaborating — that they will honor women’s rights within the norms of Islamic law.
But many Afghans fear a return to the Taliban’s harsh rule in the late 1990s, when the group barred women from attending school or working outside the home, banned television and music, chopped off the hands of suspected thieves and held public executions.
"Today, some of my friends went to work at the court and the Taliban didn’t let them into their offices. They showed their guns and said, ‘You’re not eligible to work in this government if you worked in the past one,’" one women’s activist in Kabul told The Associated Press on Saturday. She spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.
With a Turkish visa but no way to safely reach the airport, the activist described the gap between the Taliban’s words and actions "very alarming."
Jordan Smith and The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.