Soccer Star Zaki Anwari Feared for His Future in Afghanistan, Brother Says

  • Zaki Anwari, an attacking midfielder for Afghanistan’s national youth soccer team, died amid the chaos at Kabul airport.
  • He fell to his death from a US C-17 Globemaster III as it took off from the airport. 
  • His brother says Anwari feared he would never play soccer again if he didn’t flee.

A 17-year-old Afghan soccer player who was killed after holding onto a US plane leaving Kabul airport last week feared for the future of his sport amid the Taliban takeover, his brother told the Wall Street Journal.

Zaki Anwari, an attacking midfielder for Afghanistan’s national youth soccer team, fell to his death from the US C-17 Globemaster III as it took off from Kabul on Monday carrying hundreds of fleeing Afghans to safety.

His brother Zakir told the Wall Street Journal he tried to convince Anwari not to go to the airport, saying he needed a visa to leave.

But Anwari feared he would never play soccer again if he didn’t flee Afghanistan, Zakir said.

“I have to try,” he recalled his brother saying.

Anwari was one of hundreds of people at Kabul airport that were trying to flee the country after the Taliban took control of major cities. He wasn’t the only person to try to hold onto a plane from the outside: Images from last week showed several civilians clinging onto the sides of airplanes as they took off from the airport.

At least 20 people died in and around Kabul airport amid the chaos, a NATO official told Reuters over the weekend.

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