Photo of Afghan girl skipping on airport tarmac after arriving in Belgium goes viral

Former Belgian prime minister says photo shows what happens when countries ‘protect refugees’

<p>The picture of the girl was taken by Reuters photographer Johanna Geron at a military airport near Brussels earlier this week </p>

The picture of the girl was taken by Reuters photographer Johanna Geron at a military airport near Brussels earlier this week

A photo of a young Afghan girl skipping across the tarmac at an airport after being evacuated from Kabul has gone viral, with social media users praising the image as a heartwarming moment amid the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan.

The picture, which shows the girl skipping in a yellow outfit as she carries a small bag, was taken by Reuters photographer Johanna Geron at Melsbroek military airport near Brussels, Belgium, on Wednesday.

The girl and her family were among about 1,400 people who were evacuated to Belgium before the country ended its operations in Afghanistan.

Former Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt praised the picture as “wonderful” when sharing it on his Twitter page.

“This is what happens when you protect refugees,” Mr Verhofstadt wrote on Thursday. “Welcome to Belgium, little girl!”

Earlier this week, the current Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo said that his country had ended its evacuation flights carrying people from Kabul to Pakistan.

“Belgium will continue to repatriate to our country those people evacuated [in the coming days]” Mr De Croo said.

He added that the government had decided to stop evacuations on Wednesday as the security situation in Afghanistan had “very significantly deteriorated” and officials had received intelligence suggesting an “imminent threat” of a terrorist attack.

Officials have confirmed that at least 95 Afghans were killed in suicide bombings on Thursday outside Kabul's international airport, with the death toll expected to rise further over the next few days.

The US government has also warned that further attempted attacks are expected ahead of the deadline for foreign troops to leave Afghanistan on 31 August.

Additional reporting by agencies

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