A photo of a U.S. Marine that shows him cradling a young child amid a chaotic environment at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, has gone viral.
The photo, taken on Aug. 20 as thousands tried to flee the country following a Taliban takeover, shows the Marine, identified as Sgt. Matt Jaffe, sitting and holding an unidentified child. Jaffe can be seen smiling as he looks down at the baby.
According to a press release, the infant seen in the photo "took a liking to Sgt. Jaffe" and because they had developed a connection, Jaffe decided to hold the child during his break.
"I’m just a Marine, same as the men and women I serve besides, doing a job to try and help people and protect people," Jaffe said in a statement, according to the press release. "It’s pretty grim out here and sad. I had an opportunity to show some humility and do something that was good for the soul."
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The press release explained that the child was later brought to a nearby hospital and reunited with their father. No further updates on the family have been shared.
After the photo was shared on social media, it went viral, racking up over 360,000 likes on Instagram and over 16,000 shares on Facebook. Many praised Jaffe for his kindness amid a tumultuous situation.
Jaffe, a member of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, said that he hadn't expected such a response.
"I’m not looking for fame or praise, I was just doing my job and doing what I felt was right," Jaffe said in his statement. "We’re all people at the end of the day."
Jaffe is one of more than 2,000 U.S. Marines currently supporting evacuation operations in Afghanistan.
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