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    HomeUnited StatesU.S MarinesSecret Records: Government Says Marine's Adoption of Afghan Orphan Seen as Abduction,...

    Secret Records: Government Says Marine’s Adoption of Afghan Orphan Seen as Abduction, Must Be Undone

    Secret Records: Government Says Marine's Adoption of Afghan Orphan Seen as Abduction, Must Be Undone

    The U.S. government has warned a Virginia judge that allowing an American Marine to keep an Afghan war orphan risks violating international law and could be viewed around the world as “endorsing an act of international child abduction,” according to secret court records reviewed by The Associated Press.

    It is rare for the federal government to step into a local custody case, but concern about the child's fate has stretched across the Trump and Biden administrations. The Justice Department argued in the court documents that the dispute has ramifications that extend far beyond the rural courthouse where the girl's future is being decided.

    Failing to return the child, now 4, to Afghan relatives in the U.S. could jeopardize American efforts to resettle Afghan refugees, threaten international security pacts and might be used as propaganda by Islamic extremists — potentially endangering U.S soldiers overseas, Justice Department attorneys and other U.S. officials warned in court filings seeking to intervene in the case.

    The Justice Department was particularly scathing in its assessment of how Marine Maj. Joshua Mast and his wife convinced a Virginia judge to sign off on the adoption of the girl, who has been in their custody since 2021.

    Citing a litany of “falsehoods,” the Justice Department wrote that the court relied on “intentional misrepresentations” from the Marine and skipped critical safeguards to protect…

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