US News: An Afghan couple says a US Marine abducted their baby when they evacuated to the US. He says it was a legitimate adoption.

A couple from Afghanistan who evacuated to the US as refugees last year have accused a Marine of abducting their baby shortly after they arrived, according to a lawsuit filed last month in federal court.

The couple, identified as Jane and John Doe, accused Major Joshua Mast and his wife, Stephanie Mast, of conspiracy, fraud, and false imprisonment related to what they describe as the unlawful abduction of the child, identified as Baby Doe. The lawsuit and accusations were first reported by the Associated Press on Thursday.

The lawsuit says Baby Doe’s family, including her parents and five siblings, was killed in September 2019 during a US special military operation in rural Afghanistan. Baby Doe, two months old at the time, was seriously injured but survived, and was transported to a military hospital.

Joshua Mast, then a Marine Corps captain who was stationed in Afghanistan, “fraudulently obtained a custody order” for the child in a Virginia court, the lawsuit said. However, the US government did not take action to release Baby Doe to the Masts. An unnamed State Department official told AP they felt strongly that the baby belonged to Afghanistan, not the US, and that under international humanitarian law they were required to try and find her next of kin.

The officials expressed such views about six weeks after the baby was rescued during a meeting at the U.S. embassy in Kabul that was attended by the Red Cross, Afghan officials, and the US military, which included Mast, AP reported.

While Mast pursued efforts to adopt the baby, who was still in Afghanistan, her family was eventually found. The baby was released to her first cousin, identified in the suit as John Doe, and his wife, Jane Doe, who assumed legal guardianship of her.


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