Young footballer died falling from plane in bid to escape Afghanistan

Zaki Anwari, right, a member of Afghan’s national youth football team, reportedly died falling from a US military plane at Kabul airport on August 16 2021 in his attempt to flee Afghanistan. Amateur video filmed that day, left, showed people falling from a US C-17 transport plane shortly after it took off.
Zaki Anwari, right, a member of Afghan’s national youth football team, reportedly died falling from a US military plane at Kabul airport on August 16 2021 in his attempt to flee Afghanistan. Amateur video filmed that day, left, showed people falling from a US C-17 transport plane shortly after it took off. © Observers

One of the people who tragically fell from a C-17 US military plane departing from Kabul on Monday was a young Afghan footballer, according to the General Directorate of Physical Education & Sports in Afghanistan.

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Zaki Anwari, a young footballer, died on Monday after falling from a US military aircraft, a Facebook page about the Afghan national football team announced on August 18, 2021. The news was confirmed by the Sports Directorate the next day. 

Anwari was one of thousands of Afghans who flocked to the Hamid Karzai International Airport  on Monday, the day after the Taliban captured the Afghan capital, hoping to get on a plane out of the country. He reportedly climbed onto a C-17 plane that was about to depart from Kabul.

Anwari played on the Afghan national youth football team. The FRANCE 24 Observers team was unable to confirm the exact circumstances of his death.

"Anwari was amongst the hundred of young Afghans who wanted to leave the country, and died in an accident falling from the American military plane," read this post from the Afghan General Directorate of Physical Education & Sports.

A video published on August 16 shows people sitting on the landing gear flap of a plane taxiing for takeoff as people run alongside the aircraft. Several videos circulating on Monday showed people falling from a C-17 aircraft that had taken off from Kabul airport. Later, local reports said that several bodies had been found in locations east of the airport.

>> Read on The Observers: Afghanistan: People fall from plane as thousands attempt to flee Kabul at any cost

People have been paying tribute to the young footballer on social media since the news of his death was announced.

“The news of the death of my dear friend, comrade and brother Mohammad Zaki has saddened me deeply,” wrote a friend of Zaki Anwari on Instagram on August 18, 2021, with a recent photo of the deceased.
“The news of the death of my dear friend, comrade and brother Mohammad Zaki has saddened me deeply,” wrote a friend of Zaki Anwari on Instagram on August 18, 2021, with a recent photo of the deceased. © Instagram

News of Anzari's death comes as the US Air Force is investigating after human remains were found in the wheel well of one of its C-17 planes that departed from Kabul.