US Airforce's evacuation efforts from Afghanistan took quite a dramatic turn on Saturday, August 21 as a pregnant Afghan woman onboard the C-17 aircraft went into labour due to the lowered air pressure. Two other pregnant women delivered their babies after reaching the Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

The news was confirmed by the Pentagon press secretary John Kirby on August 24 stating that one of the babies was born on a C-17 military aircraft, and the other two were born in Landstuhl Regional Medical Center at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

However, the nationality of the babies born under the scrutiny of the US military is currently uncertain.

Medical staff at Ramstein air base in Germany helped delivering the babies during evacuation
Medical staff at Ramstein airbase in Germany                                               Twitter/Air Mobility Command

Newborns not eligible for American citizenship

According to U.S. State Department policy, children born on a military plane or an airbase outside of the country are not eligible for American citizenship.

As per the information provided in Airforce Magazine, a monthly journal of the Air Force Association, "A U.S. registered aircraft outside U.S. airspace is not considered to be part of U.S. territory. A child born on such an aircraft outside U.S. airspace does not acquire U.S. citizenship by reason of the place of birth."

The parents of the baby girl born mid-air have allegedly named her Reach after the call sign REACH 828 of the US Airforce C-17 Globemaster.

Speaking to the press, U.S. European Command's General Tod Walters expressed, "And as you can well imagine, being an Air Force fighter pilot, it's my dream to watch that young child called Reach grow up and be a U.S. citizen and fly the United States Air Force fighters in our Air Force," quoted Military Times.

On Sunday, US President Joe Biden assured that all American troops would be taken off the Afghan soil and his administration might consider extending the August 31 deadline. While addressing from the White House, he also vowed that all evacuated Afghan allies will be emigrated to American lands after getting examined at US bases in other countries.

US Aircraft C-17 Globemaster meant for 300 passengers has carried up to 800 Afghan evacuees so far
US Air Force C-17 Globemaster meant for 300 passengers carried 640 Afghan evacuees on Aug 15Courtesy of Defense One/via Reuters

The NYTimes quoted the President, "Our hope is we will not have to extend, but there are going to be discussions, I suspect, on how far along we are in the process."

However, not all seems well at the interim stations where the evacuated persons are stayed put, especially the Qatar base.

Al-Udeid airbase in Doha, Qatar has been one of the primary destinations for rescue flights out of Kabul. However, evacuees have complained of deplorable conditions at the transit camp.

NBC News quoted teenager Sara Frotan whose father worked as a US interpreter and now they have fled the country fearing the Taliban. Describing her experience as a 'nightmare', she even alleged that passengers were held on board the aircraft for seven hours and the intense heat had caused her and some others to faint.

From excessive heat, overcrowding persons to unsanitary conditions including no bathrooms, toilets, beds to sleep; some even feared contracting Covid-19 in crowded facilities amid a lack of medical care, stated an NBC report.

Another media outlet Axios reported it as 'a living hell'. Its report dated August 24 suggests that last Friday morning, an official at U.S. Central Command sent a searing wake-up call to colleagues: The sweltering Qatar airbase where the Biden administration is housing thousands of Afghan evacuees was awash with loose feces and urine and a rat infestation.

Embassy Doha personnel have also expressed concerns about their own staff catching COVID-19 from arriving evacuees, furthered the Axios report.

According to news reports, nearly 28,000 people have been evacuated by the US military forces since August 14. However, an August 26th social media post by 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, the largest expeditionary wing in the U.S. Air Force claimed that roughly 58,700 persons have been evacuated from the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.