Marine Accused Of Kidnapping Afghan Couple’s Baby After US Left Afghanistan

Marine Accused Of Kidnapping Afghan Couple’s Baby After US Left Afghanistan


An Afghan couple sued a U.S. Marine for allegedly kidnapping an orphaned baby girl by reportedly deceiving them to come to the U.S. for the child’s medical needs.

The child, who was 2-months-old at the time, lost her biological parents and five siblings in a U.S. military operation on September 6, 2019. U.S. forces discovered the girl in the rubble and transported her to a U.S. military hospital for treatment, according to the lawsuit.

The child’s first cousin and his wife, listed in the lawsuit as “John Doe” and “Jane Doe,” inherited guardianship of the child after her parents’ deaths, according to the lawsuit. Following the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021, the couple was informed that U.S. Marine Corps attorney Joshua Mast and his wife, Stephanie, would provide the baby with proper medical needs for the little girl in the U.S.

Unbeknownst to the couple, the Masts allegedly used Joshua’s status as a Marine to obtain an Order of Custody and Interlocutory Order of adoption over the child while she recovered from her injuries in the hospital, according to the lawsuit.

“Joshua and Stephanie Mast’s primary and undisclosed intention, however, was to induce John and Jane Doe to bring Baby Doe to the United States to enable them (one way or another) to acquire physical custody of Baby Doe based on the ‘authority’ of the Fraudulent Custody and Adoption Orders,” the suit read.


When the couple arrived to the U.S., the Masts allegedly forcefully took custody of the child which is currently in their care due to the custody order, the suit said. The couple reportedly pleaded with the Masts to give the child back as the woman collapsed to the floor and the man begged him to like a “brother,” the Associated Press reported. Mast allegedly shoved the man to the ground and stomped on his foot, according to the lawsuit.

“After they took her, our tears never stop,” “Jane Doe” told The Associated Press. “Right now, we are just dead bodies. Our hearts are broken. We have no plans for a future without her. Food has no taste and sleep gives us no rest.”

The child’s paternal uncle reportedly filed a request with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for U.S. assistance in returning the child to her biological parents, according to the AP. Officials in Afghanistan and the U.S. have worked to return the child to her guardians, who has been with the Masts for over a year.

“Defendants have caused irreversible harm to an innocent toddler and Plaintiffs John and Jane Doe,” the suit alleged. “As her true family and legal guardians, they raised Baby Doe for 18 months before the abduction and love her as their own child. Though this lawsuit can never make them whole, Defendants must be held accountable for their unconscionable actions.”

Despite the suit’s statements, the Masts have argued that they “acted admirably” to protect the child and stand firm that they are her legal guardians, the AP reported. The couple filed a request to a federal judge asking to dismiss the lawsuit.

The suit said that Mast allegedly violated the law since under Article 12 of Afghanistan’s law on citizenship, the child is a citizen of Afghanistan and is subject to the jurisdiction of that country. Afghanistan’s laws also prohibit a child to be adopted by a non-Muslim or by a couple that is not an Afghan national, according to the lawsuit. The Masts reportedly fit neither of those categories

Under U.S. law, a child cannot be adopted from Afghanistan unless legal guardianship or custody is obtained over the child, according to the AP.

The fate of the child is being deliberated in the courts, the outlet reported. The Masts arrived at the Fluvanna County courthouse with more than a dozen lawyers present. Mast remains an active duty Marine who has recently been promoted to Major.

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