An Afghan footballer fell to his death after trying to cling to a US plane airlifting people out of Taliban-controlled Kabul, a sports federation has said.
The General Directorate of Physical Education and Sports of Afghanistan, a government institution that worked with sporting groups, confirmed the death of Zaki Anwari who played for the Afghan national youth team. In a statement posted on Facebook on Thursday, the group said:
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Anwari, like thousands of Afghan youths, wanted to leave the country but fell off a US plane and died.
He was among thousands of Afghans who flocked to the Hamid Karzai Internation Airport this week in a bid to flee the country after the country’s legitimate government collapsed.
A Taliban’s lightning offensive, taking advantage of the withdrawal of troops from NATO countries, ended with them assuming power when President Ashraf Ghani fled.
In a harrowing video from the airport on Monday, hundreds of people were seen running alongside a US Air Force plane as it gathered speed on the runway – several men desperately holding onto the side.
Further clips on social media appeared to show two people falling to their deaths from a C-17 aircraft after it took off.
Human remains were later found in a wheel well, the US military confirmed, adding that it was investigating the reported deaths linked to the C-17. US Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said:
Before the aircrew could offload the cargo, the aircraft was surrounded by hundreds of Afghan civilians.
Faced with a rapidly deteriorating security situation around the aircraft, the C-17 crew decided to depart the airfield as quickly as possible.