Afghan Soccer Player, 17, Identified as Teen Who Died Falling From U.S. Evacuation Plane in Kabul

Afghanistan Soccer Federation

Fear and uncertainty continue in Afghanistan as the Taliban tries to solidify its control of the country.

A 17-year-old Afghan boy who was an aspiring soccer player died Monday after falling from a U.S. evacuation plane he clung to as it left Kabul, the country’s official sports federation announced.

Zaki Anwari was a member of the Afghan Youth National Soccer team and was one of the many who tried to escape the country as the Taliban took over the city of Kabul, the federation said.

“Anwari was one of hundreds of young people who wanted to leave the country and, in an incident, fell off an American military plane and died,” the group said in a statement on Facebook.

The teenager was a young boy who would not give up on his dream of being a professional player, the country’s Ministry of Physical Education and Sport said in a statement obtained by Italy’s Gazzetta Dello Sport.

Aref Peyman, the head of media relations for the sports federation and for Afghanistan’s Olympic Committee, told The New York Times that Anwari came from a low income family and attended school while trying to pursue a career in soccer.

Peyman said the teenager was living out his dream of representing the Afghan national team on a youth level and wanted a better life.

“He was kind and patient, but like so many of our young people he saw the arrival of the Taliban as the end of his dreams and sports opportunities,” Peyman said. “He had no hope and wanted a better life.”

President Joe Biden has said U.S. forces will remain in the country beyond his Aug. 31 deadline if needed.

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