Six-year-old Afghan Boy with Terminal Illness Dies in U.S. Custody


Tragic news has emerged of the death of a six-year-old Afghan boy who was brought to the United States after the Taliban assumed control of Afghanistan last year.

Afghan Boy with Terminal Illness
Afghan Boy with Terminal Illness ( Photo: )

The U.S. government official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, revealed that the child, who suffered from a terminal illness, passed away on June 13

This marks the third such death of a child in federal government custody this year. The boy was among hundreds of Afghan children who arrived in the U.S. in 2021 without their parents after being evacuated from Afghanistan. Due to various circumstances, including parents being unable to board evacuation flights or having lost their lives, these children were placed under the care of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement, responsible for unaccompanied minors.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the child was immediately transferred to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center upon arrival in August 2021. Subsequently, he was moved to the HSC Pediatric Center in Washington, D.C., where he received round-the-clock nursing care suitable for individuals with terminal illnesses.

On June 2, the child was transferred to the pediatric intensive care unit at Children’s National Hospital due to a sudden medical complication. HHS stated that medical treatment was administered in accordance with the parent’s wishes and recommendations from the healthcare provider team. The department expressed condolences to the grieving family during this challenging time.

Regrettably, this incident marks the third death of an unaccompanied child in HHS custody this year

In March, a four-year-old girl from Honduras passed away after experiencing cardiac arrest in Michigan. It was reported that she had been medically fragile for years. In May, a 17-year-old Honduran boy housed in an HHS shelter in Florida died, likely due to an epileptic seizure, triggering investigations by federal and local authorities.

Apart from deaths in HHS custody, another migrant child, eight-year-old Anadith Tanay Reyes Alvarez, died while in U.S. Border Patrol custody in May. Her tragic demise sparked a comprehensive federal investigation, revealing concerns about her treatment and resulting in the removal of a senior Customs and Border Protection official.

HHS houses unaccompanied children without legal immigration status in the U.S. Currently, there are 5,922 unaccompanied minors under its care, primarily comprising Central American teenagers escaping poverty and violence. Many unaccompanied Afghan children have remained in shelters and foster homes for extended periods, as their family members have been killed or are stranded in Afghanistan. The Biden administration has emphasized prioritizing the resettlement of Afghan refugees with children in the United States.


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