There are heartbreaking photographs and videos across the internet of desperate Afghanis thronging the Kabul airport in a bid to flee the country after the Taliban takeover. Now, one image is warming hearts online. It is of a little girl skipping on the tarmac after being evacuated to Belgium.
The image, taken by Reuters photographer Johanna Geron at Melsbroek military airport, shows the girl with a smile on her face as she follows two adults, most likely her parents. The contrast between the expressions on the faces of the adults and child is striking.
The picture has resonated with thousands of people, and has started a conversation online.
“This is what happens when you protect refugees,” former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt wrote while sharing the image on Twitter. “Welcome to Belgium, little girl!”
This is what happens when you protect refugees…
Welcome to Belgium, little girl !
— Guy Verhofstadt (@guyverhofstadt) August 26, 2021
The photograph struck a chord with thousands of people worldwide, who showered blessings on the child and hoped she would find a better and more peaceful life in Belgium. Several people also hoped there would be a better future for the children who are still in Afghanistan.
— Charlene McTier (@GlobalChar) August 27, 2021
Anyone that is questioning or disputing refugees coming to your country for a safer life, look at this beautiful picture https://t.co/Jxon7w0cTA
— Daniel (@gentlyairhead1) August 26, 2021
May she seize the opportunity to go to school and grow up to lead a powerful international campaign that ends Taliban-like oppression of women on this planet forever.#resist #VoteBlue2022 #mepolitics #Afghanistan https://t.co/qDO7rARR7E
— Bruce Bourgoine (@BruceBourgoine) August 26, 2021
A picture is worth a thousand words. https://t.co/IQ2ecjXDtc
— Megan Davies (@megandaviesbbc) August 26, 2021
— Julie Etchingham (@julie_etch) August 26, 2021
Godspeed, little one, godspeed.
— untoo (@atuntoo) August 26, 2021
we are welcoming in belgium those people with pride , glad to see a family some happy and far all that terror , wished all kids had her chance , sadly as great this is , many won’t be that lucky
— charles paul (@Henry7525) August 25, 2021
I hope no one ever kills her spirit. I hope she grows up in an environment where she can choose her path in life, she can go to school, skip or dance, walk outdoors without fear of oppression due to her sex or her ethnicity. May she live in a world without daily fear of violence.
— AK (@killawattannie) August 26, 2021
I love the picture ❤️ but it’s high time we stop calling them refugees. They helped NATO to fight , they showed where the others are and they interpreted. I think the right way to put it is, when you protect your allies! Not refugees. My opinion though.
— Kenechukwu (@KeneChukwukelue) August 26, 2021
So nice to think that this spirited little girl will not have to spend her youth under the Taliban. Though there will be heartbreak over those we cannot rescue, there is a great possibility that each person like her will thrive & contribute.
— JillEA (@JillAnanyi) August 25, 2021
That’s how children should be, free and fancy, happy to face the future with open arms and open mind.
— Richard Schabler (@richter_scale1) August 25, 2021
I can’t stop crying. What a beautiful innocent human being. May she skip into an amazing bright future ahead full of life, hope and determination. 🥰❤️❤️❤️🥺❤️❤️
— Rita💜💙 (@RmetropolisO) August 26, 2021
Starting a new life with literally a backpack. Unimaginable. I hope her innocence and excitement bring a smile to her undoubtedly exhausted and afraid parents
— Sarah (@sarahj0718) August 26, 2021
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said his country ended its evacuation flights to Pakistan on Thursday after the United States informed the government of an imminent attack at the Kabul airport. “Belgium will continue to repatriate to our country those people evacuated” in the days ahead, De Croo was quoted as saying by The Associated Press.
According to VRT NWS, Belgium evacuated 1,400 people from Kabul, but everybody who wanted to get out did not manage to do so.
On Thursday, two suicide bombings near Kabul’s international airport killed over 70 people, including US troops.
The Afghan offshoot of the terror organisation “Islamic State,” known as ISIS-Khorasan, IS-K or ISIS-K claimed responsibility for the attacks.