An Afghan couple who arrived in the United States as refugees are suing a Marine and his wife for kidnapping their baby.

The newlywed couple was rescued from Kabul and brought to Washington by Marine, Joshua Mast, during the chaos withdrawal of American troops last year.

The little girl was rescued two years earlier from the rubble of a U.S. Special Forces raid that killed her parents and five siblings, and moved in with the couple – her cousin and wife – after spending months in a military hospital. US.

When they arrived in the United States in late August 2021, Mr. Mast pulled them off the international arrivals line and led them to an inspection officer, according to a lawsuit filed last month.

They were surprised when Mast presented an Afghan passport for the girl, the couple said, and noted that her last name had been changed to Mast.

Unbeknownst to the family, according to court documents, the marine and his wife, Stephanie, had adopted the baby in a Virginia courthouse 7,000 miles away.

The couple say that Mr. Mast, after brandishing custody papers, took the baby from the couple five days after they arrived in the United States. They have not seen the young man since.

“After they take it, our tears never stop,” the Afghan woman, who asked to remain anonymous, told The Associated Press.

“Right now, we’re just corpses. Our hearts are broken. We have no plans for a future without her. Food has no flavor and sleep doesn’t give us rest.”

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“We have acted admirably”

In a federal lawsuit filed in September, the Afghan family accused the Masts of false detention, conspiracy, fraud and assault.

Mr. Mast claimed that he and his wife are the legal parents of the girl, who is now three and a half years old, and they “acted admirably” to save her.

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“Joshua and Stephanie Mast have done nothing but make sure she gets the medical care she needs, at great expense and personal sacrifice, and provide her with a loving home,” Masts’ lawyers wrote.

The Masts also called the Afghan family’s claims “outrageous and undeserved attacks” on their integrity and claimed in court documents that they worked “to protect the child from physical, mental or emotional harm.”

They asked a federal judge to dismiss the case.

The ordeal involved several US government departments, which said the alleged incident could significantly damage military and foreign relations.

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