Afghan refugee organization says they received ‘very credible lead’ in search for missing baby who was handed to US soldier during Kabul airport pullout

Two-month-old Sohail sits on a bed.
Sohail Ahmadi, around two-months-old, is seen in this handout picture taken August 2021 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Courtesy of the Ahmadi family/Handout via REUTERS
  • An Afghan family handed their baby, Sohail, to a US soldier at the Kabul airport in August.
  • Months later, after their evacuation to the US, Sohail remains missing.
  • But an Afghan refugee org said Monday that they received a “very credible lead” regarding Sohail’s case. 

An Afghan refugee organization offered a glimmer of hope this week in the ongoing saga of baby Sohail — the Afghan child who remains missing months after he was handed to a US soldier amid the chaotic Kabul airport pullout in August.

Afghan Refugee Relief, a grassroots resettling organization, posted an Instagram update in the case on Monday.

“We received a very credible lead several weeks ago and we have been following it and forwarding it to the appropriate authorities,” the group said. “The minute that it is safe to do so, we will provide you with a complete update, and God willing, happy news.”

A post shared by Afghan Refugee Relief (@afghanrefugeerelief)

The organization began circulating baby Sohail’s photo weeks ago in an attempt to garner worldwide recognition and awareness for the missing child, who was only 2 months old when he was separated from his family in August. 

Multiple governmental agencies, including the Department of Defense, and the State Department, as well as several international non-governmental organizations, have been searching for Sohail, following the hasty evacuation efforts in Afghanistan prompted by the Taliban takeover this summer.

A spokesperson for the State Department previously told Insider that the government was aware of Sohail’s case and working with international partners to “explore every avenue to locate the child,” including having issued an international Amber Alert. A spokesperson for the agency did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for updated information on Tuesday.

A representative with Afghan Refugee Relief told Insider that the organization’s children’s task force is in contact with federal partners, as well as Sohail’s family, to provide timely information in the case.

Sohail’s parents, Mirza Ali Ahmadi and his wife, Suraya, were gathered with their five children and scores of other Afghan citizens outside the Kabul airport on August 19 when they became separated from Sohail, the parents told Reuters earlier this month. 

The crowd was growing fast, and the couple feared that Sohail, just 2 months old at the time, would be crushed in the disarray. When a US soldier behind the fence asked if they needed help, Ahmadi and Suraya handed their child over, believing they would be reunited once they reached the entrance 16 feet (4.88m) away.

But soon after, the Taliban began shoving hundreds of people back, Ahmadi said, and the family couldn’t reach the other side of the airport fence for more than half an hour. When they finally got inside, Sohail was nowhere to be found.

Ahmadi, who said he worked as a security guard in the US Embassy for a decade, asked any official he could find about his missing son. His search went on for hours, and then days.

“I spoke to maybe more than 20 people,” Ahmadi told Reuters. “Every officer — military or civilian — I came across I was asking about my baby.”

Ahmadi told the outlet that he’d seen other families handing their babies to US troops during the airlift. Footage of one child being passed over the airport fence made headlines; that baby was eventually reunited with her parents.

Three days later, the family flew to Qatar and then to Germany, Reuters said. Ahmadi, 35, Suraya, 32, and their other children — 3, 6, 9, and 17 years old — eventually landed in the US; they were awaiting resettlement at Fort Bliss in Texas, earlier this month.

In its Monday update, Afghan Refugee Relief thanked the public for providing leads, prayers, and messages of support for Sohail. 

“For now, please continue to keep baby Sohail, his family, and those working to reunite them in your prayers,” the post said.