ALONE AT THE AIRPORT
On the same day Ahmadi and his family were separated from their baby, Safi had slipped through the Kabul airport gates after giving a ride to his brother's family who were also set to evacuate.
Safi said he found Sohail alone and crying on the ground. After he said he unsuccessfully tried to locate the baby's parents inside, he took the infant home to his wife and children. Safi has three daughters of his own and said his mother's greatest wish before she died was for him to have a son.
In that moment he decided: “I am keeping this baby. If his family is found, I will give him to them. If not, I will raise him myself,” he told Reuters in an interview in late November. Safi told Reuters that he took him to the doctor for a check-up after he was found and quickly incorporated the child into his family.
They called the baby Mohammad Abed and posted pictures of all the children together on his Facebook page. After the Reuters story about the missing child came out, some of Safi's neighbours — who had noticed his return from the airport months earlier with a baby — recognised the photos and posted says about his whereabouts on a translated version of the article.
Ahmadi asked his relatives still in Afghanistan, including his father-in-law Mohammad Qasem Razawi, 67, who lives in the northeastern province of Badakhshan, to seek out Safi and ask him to return Sohail to the family. Razawi said he travelled two days and two nights to the capital bearing gifts — including a slaughtered sheep, several pounds of walnuts and clothing — for Safi and his family.
But Safi refused to release Sohail, insisting he also wanted to be evacuated from Afghanistan with his family. Safi's brother, who was evacuated to California, said Safi and his family have no pending applications for US entry.
The baby's family sought help from the Red Cross, which has a stated mission to help reconnect people separated by international crises, but said they received little information from the organisation. A spokesperson for the Red Cross said it does not comment on individual cases.
Finally, after feeling they had run out of options, Razawi contacted the local Taliban police to report a kidnapping.
Safi told Reuters he denied the allegations to the police and said he was caring for the baby, not kidnapping him. The complaint was investigated and dismissed and the local police commander told Reuters he helped arrange a settlement, which included an agreement signed with thumbprints by both sides.