A photo of a US marine holding an infant in his arms amid the evacuation of Americans and Afghan civilians from Kabul has gone viral as evacuations continue in the aftermath of the Taliban retaking Afghanistan five days ago.
The image, which was shared to Twitter on Friday by Task and Purpose, a military news website, appears to show a marine calming an infant, and cradling the child in his arms.
It was taken at the international airport in Kabul, from where several thousand NATO and American civilians, as well as Afghan refugees who worked with the West during the “war on terror”, have been evacuated in the days since Afghanistan’s government and armed forces collapsed.
While it is not known who the child is, the marine was said to be assigned to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), which is headquartered in North Carolina.
Dozens of Twitter users retweeted the image, with one writing that “Military members are the VERY BEST of us. God Bless every one serving and bring them all home.”
“Love the look on his face, so caring,” added another. “This picture brings tears to my eyes.”
It follows footage of mothers passing their children over the wall of the airport, and to safety, which shocked both social media users and commentators.
As did video of an Afghan youth footballer falling to his death after he hung on to a plane taking off from Kabul on Sunday.
The US has faced criticism for failing to anticipate the Taliban retaking Afghanistan within weeks of it fully withdrawing from the country, and of failing to evacuate people who face reparations from the militants.
Afghans are unable to get through crowds and Taliban checkpoints around the airport, and the total number of Americans, allies and Afghan refugees is unknown, US officials admit. It is though to be in the tens of thousands.
An evacuation flight on Tuesday carried 185 children out of the country, who were among 823 Afghans onboard a US military aircraft. More flights are expected in the coming days, with a 31 August deadline looming.
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