A 19-year-old Afghan footballer Zaki Anwari was among those killed after he clung to a US military aircraft leaving Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul to Doha. According to reports, his remains were found in the wheel well of the aircraft when it landed in Doha.
Zaki Anwari dies in a fall from the plane
According to a report, Anwari was identified as one of those who had stormed the runway in a desperate bid to cling on to evacuating flights. The report said that he was a high school student and a member of the country’s national junior football team.
According to a report in dailymail.co.uk, he was trapped in the landing gear of the US evacuation flight.
“Mr. Anwari’s remains were discovered in the wheel well of a US C-17 transport jet when it arrived in Qatar after the plane had taken off from Kabul with despairing Afghans clinging to the fuselage on Monday,” the report claimed.
“His football team the Khorosan lions reported that he had been among the teens videoed clinging to the side of a US C-17 transport,” it added.
Who was Zaki Anwari?
19-year-old Zaki Anwari was a student of Esteqlal High School — one of the most prestigious schools in Afghanistan.
Under the regimes of former presidents Hamid Karzai and Ashraf Ghani, sports had thrived in Afghanistan.
With the Taliban once again rising to power in the country, many are wondering if the days of organised sports are behind them. When the Taliban first clinched power in 1996, men’s sport is said to have taken a backseat while women had completely been barred from participating.
Meanwhile, condolences have been pouring in for the young player on social media.
A friend of Anwari’s wrote on Instagram, “The news of the death of my dear friend, comrade, and brother Mohammad Zaki has saddened me deeply.”
Elias Niazi, a sports journalist in Afghanistan, wrote, “Zaki Anwari, the valuable star of the national youth football team of the country, has died in the Kabul airfield accident. His close ones say that Zaki intended to go to America to have a better life, but he, unfortunately, lost his life in the chaos of Kabul airfield.”
The Fédération Internationale des Associations de Footballeurs Professionnels (FIFPRO), an international organisation of footballers, also tweeted saying, “Our deepest condolences go out to the family, friends, and teammates of young Afghan national team footballer Zaki Anwari, who reportedly died in a fall from a US plane at Kabul airport on Monday.”