Afghan teen killed in US plane tragedy a 'promising young footballer'

·3-min read
Pictured here, Afghan youth football star Zaki Anwari died falling from a US military plane.
Afghan youth football star Zaki Anwari died falling from a US military plane as it evacuated people from the country. Pic: AAP/Twitter


A teenager killed desperately trying to flee Afghanistan on a US military plane evacuating people from the capital Kabul, has been identified as a member of Afghanistan’s national youth soccer team.

Afghanistan's official sports federation confirmed that 19-year-old Zaki Anwari died in the tragic incident that has shocked the world.

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On Monday, a crowd of Afghan civilians stormed the tarmac of Kabul's international airport in frantic efforts to flee the country that has been overrun by the Taliban. 

Anwari was reportedly among the hundreds of people clinging to a USAF Boeing C-17 as it took off from the Hamid Karzai airport in Afghanistan's capital.

The General Directorate of Sport confirmed to the Afghanistan-based Ariana news agency that the footballer died after falling from the plane. 

The news agency said in a tweet: "The General Directorate of Physical Education & Sports of Afghanistan confirmed Zaki Anwari, a player from the national youth football team, was among hundreds of young people who tried to leave the country by clinging to a US military plane. Anwari fell and died."

A Facebook page dedicated to the Afghan national football team also shared a post announcing the news, with many people commenting and paying tribute to Anwari.

The team wrote: "It is said that Zaki Anwari is one of the players of the national youth team among the victims of the US military airplane."

They added that he tried to get to America to "find a better future" by trying to ride on the wheels of the US airplane. "May his soul rest in peace," the team wrote.

Afghan civilians flee as Taliban takes control

The US and UK have both been scrambling to evacuate personnel and troops from the country amid the Taliban's rapid advance and seizure of power. 

But crowds of people seeking to flee Afghanistan swarmed the airport earlier in the week with footage showing many trying to board a moving plane.

Seen here, Afghanistan civilians run alongside the US aircraft as it evacuates people from the country.
Afghanistan civilians could be seen running alongside the US aircraft as it evacuated people from the country. Pic: AAP

Meanwhile, the US Air Force is investigating the discovery of human remains in the wheel well of one of its C-17 planes that departed from Kabul.

US Air Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek said in a statement to ABC: "OSI is leading the review in coordination with the U.S. Air Force's Air Mobility Command and international partners since it involves the loss of life on U.S. military aircraft.

"OSI's review will be thorough to ensure we obtain the facts regarding this tragic incident. Our hearts go out to the families of the deceased."

with agencies

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