Afghanistan’s national footballer, Zaki Anwari has been named among many Afghan nationals who fell to their death as they were trying to escape the country after it was taken over by the Taliban, a terrorist group that overpowered the ruling government.
A statement by the Afghan authorities confirmed that a young footballer fell to his death after trying to stow away on a US military plane leaving Kabul airport. Zaki Anwari was 19 years and had played for Afghanistan’s national youth team.
Since the Taliban’s recapture of Afghanistan, thousands of people have scrambled to Kabul’s airport as Western countries rush to evacuate their citizens and Afghan colleagues.
Images emerged on Monday showing hundreds of people running alongside a US air force plane as it moved down a runway. Some people were seen clinging to its side.
Local media reports said that at least two people fell to their deaths after it took off. The US air force has also confirmed that human remains were found in the landing gear of an aircraft after it arrived in Qatar.
Many have been paying tribute to Zaki Anwari on social media.
In a statement on Facebook, Afghanistan’s General Directorate of Physical Education and Sports paid tribute to Mr Anwari.
“May he rest in heaven and pray to God for his family, friends and sports colleagues,” the sports body said.
Others have also been sharing their respects on social media.
“His departure is a great sorrow,” wrote one user on Instagram. “Your memory is always dear to me”.
Around 4,500 US troops are in temporary control of Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital.
The Taliban are blocking Afghans from entering the airport without travel documents – but even those with valid authorisation have struggled.
Amid chaotic scenes at the airport, US President Joe Biden has defended his handling of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“The idea that somehow there’s a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don’t know how that happens,” he told ABC News on Wednesday.
Mr Biden said that US troops may have to stay in Afghanistan beyond the planned 31 August deadline agreed with the Taliban, in order to help with evacuations,