Afghan Baby Born After Mom Goes into Labor Aboard U.S. Air Force Plane Fleeing the Taliban in Kabul
A pregnant Afghan woman, who was fleeing the Taliban in Kabul, went into labor on Saturday as she and her family evacuated aboard a U.S. Air Force plane.
The unnamed mother boarded the C-17 cargo plane with her husband and their other young child before meeting an aeromedical staging squadron at a base in the Middle East and moving on to Ramstein Air Base in Germany, PEOPLE confirms.
She went into labor mid-flight, experiencing increasingly heavy contractions. The woman progressed into high labor and her blood pressure dropped dangerously low as the plane approached Germany, causing medical complications. The aircraft's commander took action, increasing the air pressure and decreasing altitude, which managed to "stabilize and help save the mother's life," according to a U.S. Air Force rep.
When the aircraft touched down at Ramstein, the woman went into the final stages of labor. The 86th Medical Group rushed aboard and escorted her to a makeshift delivery room in the cargo bay, where they facilitated the successful birth.
"The baby girl and mother were transported to a nearby medical facility and are in good condition," an Air Mobility Command rep tells PEOPLE.
The extraordinary birth took place amid turmoil for many Afghans after the Taliban seized control of Kabul and other cities last weekend, following President Joe Biden's withdrawal of U.S. military troops from the country.
Afghans subsequently descended into panic, crowding the Kabul airport and scaling concrete walls around the tarmac in an attempt to board international flights and flee the Taliban's control. More than 600 people have evacuated in a single trip on Air Force cargo planes like the one that transported the pregnant woman, much more than the amount of passengers those types of aircrafts are built to hold. Many have rushed half-open ramps and even wheel wells to escape, and some have fallen to their death in the process.
An Afghan man living in Kabul (who asked to be kept anonymous for fear of reprisal) told PEOPLE of the sense of terror that has taken over the city, threatening his family's livelihood. "We are afraid to go outside now. Everyone is scared and hiding. Unless you are with the Taliban, it is not safe inside Afghanistan," the man said.
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"I myself, and people in my family, we worked with the Afghan government. We were government workers. Now we are unemployed. I have no income. I have to live off of what money I already have," he continued. "Our family wants to go to America. We thought we had more time."
After announcing that all U.S. troops would withdraw from Afghanistan by September 11, Biden told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos on Wednesday that the U.S. will "do everything in our power to get all Americans out and our allies out," confirming that troops will remain in Afghanistan as long as necessary.