Afghan Orphan update

| April 3, 2023

You may remember that a while back we talked about Marine Major Joshua Mast, who with his wife adopted an Afghan child. Except it turned out the little girl was living with her relatives at the time.

Apparently her true parents were killed in a joint US/Afghan counter-insurgent raid in the war, and the 20-month old little girl was hospitalized from the same attack. (According to one article, same of the Afghan fighters on the scene advocated killing her or throwing her in the river as an enemy combatant.)

The Army Rangers told CBS News they made a car seat from scraps and medical equipment. With a bandage wrapped around her head, the baby was taken to a U.S. military hospital in Afghanistan. She was treated for fractures to her leg and skull, and second-degree burns on her face and neck.

Joshua Mast, a U.S. Marine Corps lawyer who was deployed to Afghanistan at the time, wasn’t on the raid, but says he heard about the child from his boss.

CBS News

Gets a little sticky after this – the Afghans identified, and placed the girl, with cousins of the girls’ parents,  who were raising the child when Mast adopted her and help bring all of them to the US during the evacuation.

The Afghan couple says in court filings they thought they were bringing Baby L to the U.S. for medical treatment. In a federal lawsuit, they claim the Masts encouraged them to bring the baby to the U.S. solely for medical care, but never told them they had already adopted the baby. The Afghan couple says they did not know the Masts had officially adopted the baby in the U.S. and were blindsided when the Masts took custody.

The Masts say they made it clear that Baby L would become their adopted child.

Asked if he feels he effectively communicated that he had custody of the child and was legally responsible for her in the U.S., Joshua Mast said he did.

“I mean, they used her military ID and her U.S. name and identity to get to America,” he said.

CBS News

Obviously a situation wherein everyone thinks they communicated clearly to the other side, but didn’t – with a now-4 year old girl caught in the middle.  US State and Justice Departments are siding with the Afghan government saying the girl should stay with her relatives. Mast maintains that there is no proof, such as DNA testing, that the Afghan couple even ARE her relatives.

In a highly unusual ruling, a state court judge on Thursday voided a U.S. Marine’s adoption of an Afghan war orphan, more than a year after he took the little girl away from the Afghan couple raising her. But her future remains uncertain.

For now, the child will stay with Marine Maj. Joshua Mast and his wife, Stephanie, under a temporary custody order they obtained before the adoption. The Masts will have to re-prove to the court that they should be granted a permanent adoption.


I just don’t see this as ending with everyone involved happy.

Category: Afghanistan, Marines

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I wish the Maj good luck.


When elephants fight
It is the grass that suffers.


Did anyone else besides me wonder why there was a picture of a Marine standing next to Michael Jackson?


I mean…yea.


Just trying to wrap my head around all this-

The girl’s parents were killed in a raid on insurgents. The Afghan Allies advocated killing the child as she was “of the other side”. After we medically cared for her the girl was given to relatives. Relatives of the insurgent parents, in other words other insurgents. Who may-or may not-be distantly blood related but are “cousins”. Every other person in the same province or tribe is called “cousin”. Any other Afghan, or any Muslim can be called “cousin” If you don’t understand this, you don’t understand Afghan culture, which our courts and media certainly don’t.

The girl was legally adopted by a Marine, thereby giving the child a passport. The insurgents relatives got to use the child’s status to leave Afghanistan. Once here, they find out that as a childless couple, they are way down any list for housing, or better housing and get much less in overall assistance. Also, without “their” child as she is not “theirs” either legally or custodially, their asylum is called into question.

What I fear will happen-
will be sad for the Marine and his family, and the now nearly 6 year old. Whether it is here or there, she has a life lived under a hefty bag to look forward to with her “cousins”.

Our core personality forms by 7. Hopefully the child had enough time in the free world to not become just another submissive brood mare hidden under a blanket. Then again, it may be better for her if she does forget.

pookysgirl, WC wife

Or it could be the other side of the spectrum, and she could be her own grandma!


Look, the kid is 4. It’s now old enough to decide if it wants to be a boy or a girl, old enough to get an abortion without parental consent, and 2 years away from being able to vote.

To paraphrase my friend, Eric Cartman, perhaps it’s too cruel to allow the kid to remain here and choke on the sweet air of freedom.


Sticky. And the little girl is caught in the middle, too young to really understand what is happening. Did the Major “bend or break” some rules? Seems as if he did. Would the child be better off with “her own kind” or with the Major and wife? Sad for the little girl if she is used to being with the Major and is suddenly snatched away.

Anna Puma

All I can say is please God look after the little girl for this is a mess.


“We’re from the government. We’re here to help.”

Well, which is it?