9 Months Later, Case of Lina Sardar Khil Still Baffles

The 'New York Times' digs in
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2022 1:00 PM CDT
Months Before Lina Vanished, She Avoided Another Tragedy
Lina Sardar Khil   (FBI)

Lina Sardar Khil is still missing nine months after vanishing from a San Antonio playground. The 3-year-old's story has received wide coverage, but the New York Times goes deeper, filling in some backstory on the family, the specifics of the day she disappeared, and where things stand today. Edgar Sandoval and Zabihullah Ghazi write that the Sardars almost lost their daughter just months before she vanished. Lina's father, Riaz Sardar Khil, helped US troops in his role with the Afghan army, and that assistance earned him the immigration visa that paved the way for Sardar, his wife, and then-newborn Lina to move to Texas. Last summer the family returned home for a visit—and rushed to the Kabul airport on Aug. 26 after learning US troops had withdrawn from Afghanistan.

There, Lina and her mother ended up just feet away from the suicide bomber who killed 13 US troops and scores of Afghans. Lina fainted, and there were fears the girl was dead. She wasn't, and the family made it safely back to San Antonio, for a time. On Dec. 20, Lina's mother finally agreed to let her daughter play in the gated apartment complex's playground after a rainy week spent stuck inside the one-bedroom apartment. Lina joined other children there. Her mother turned away for five minutes at most. When she turned back, Lina was gone, and every lead that has been chased down has come up empty. "I have not talked to anyone about this case, family or law enforcement, that’s just not baffled," says San Antonio Police Chief William McManus. (Read the full story for more.)

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