Afghan woman gives birth aboard U.S. evacuation plane

MAINZ, Germany — U.S. airmen helped to deliver a baby after an Afghan woman went into labor in midair aboard an evacuation flight that landed Saturday in Germany, U.S. Air Mobility Command said.

The woman, whose identity was not revealed, was aboard a C-17 aircraft on her way to Ramstein Air Base in southwest Germany when she went into labor, the command said in a statement on its Facebook page.

The flight took off from “an intermediate staging base in the Middle East,” the statement said. It was not clear when the woman left Afghanistan.


The woman began experiencing complications in-flight due to low blood pressure, the statement said, adding, “The aircraft commander made the decision to descend in altitude to increase air pressure in the aircraft, which helped stabilize and save the mother’s life."

Airmen from the 86th Medical Group rushed onboard and delivered the baby in the cargo bay of the aircraft as the plane landed, the statement said.

The baby girl and her mother were transported to a nearby medical facility and are in good condition, said a spokesperson for the 86th Airlift Command at Ramstein Air Base.

A spokesperson for Ramstein said Sunday that 6,100 evacuees from Afghanistan have been flown to the air base since the start of Operation Allies Refuge, with more flights expected in the coming days. The Defense Department said Saturday that 17,000 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan since Aug.14.

But thousands more still wait to escape Afghanistan as the Taliban seek to consolidate their rule, and the security situation around the Kabul airport continues to deteriorate, with people being crushed to death near the airport. The U.K. government said Sunday that seven Afghan civilians were killed in a panicked crush of people trying to enter the airport.

President Joe Biden vowed to get Americans home and to help Afghans who had assisted U.S. forces and others who might be in danger Friday in “one of the largest, most difficult airlifts in history.”

But U.S. efforts have been met with criticism in light of the chaos that ensued at the Kabul airport last week as the Taliban took control of the capital.

The Pentagon said Sunday that it would draft commercial aircraft to transport people once they have been evacuated.

U.S. defense officials also warned Saturday of a possible threat from the Islamic State, the terrorist group better known as ISIS, to the airport and Americans trying to evacuate.

Andy Eckardt reported from Mainz and Yuliya Talmazan from London.