Afghanistan’s sports federation says Anwari, who played for the national youth soccer team, died in chaos at the airport.
An Afghan footballer playing for the national youth team died after trying to hold onto a US plane carrying people out of Taliban-controlled Kabul, a sports federation said.
Afghanistan’s Directorate General for Physical Education and Sports, a government institution that worked with sports groups, confirmed the death of Zaki Anwari in the chaos that erupted at the capital’s airport this week.
“Anwari, like thousands of young Afghans, wanted to leave the country but fell from an American plane and died,” the group said in a statement posted on Facebook on Thursday.
Thousands of Afghans have flocked to the airport this week in an attempt to flee the country, following the Taliban’s lightning offensive that ended with them taking power when President Ashraf Ghani fled.
In heartbreaking video from the airport Monday, hundreds of people were seen running alongside a US Air Force plane as it picked up speed on the runway – several men desperately clinging to the side.
Other clips on social media appeared to show two people falling to their deaths from a C-17 plane 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 related to C-17.
“Before the aircrew could unload the cargo, the aircraft was surrounded by hundreds of Afghan civilians,” said US Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek.
“Faced with a rapidly deteriorating security situation around the aircraft, the C-17 crew decided to leave the airfield as quickly as possible.”
US President Joe Biden has been under pressure at home and abroad to explain how his administration was apparently unprepared for the Taliban’s swift attack and how US troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan.
Memories of the brutal Taliban regime of the 1990s, which saw music and television banned, people stoned to death and women confined to their homes, have sparked panic about what awaits them, leading to many Afghans to try to flee.