Afghan Soccer Star Killed in US Plane’s Landing Gear

Teenager was trying to escape country

Zaki Anwari
• August 19, 2021 1:50 pm


An Afghan teenager who played in the country's national soccer team died in the landing gear of a U.S. plane as it took off from Kabul airport on Monday, Afghan media reported.

Zaki Anwari, 19, was among the thousands of Afghans who swarmed Kabul airport in an attempt to escape the country after the Taliban toppled the government. Videos taken at the airport showed Afghans clinging to the outside of aircraft as they took off, and several were killed when they fell off a Boeing C-17 at a great height. Anwari reportedly clung to the landing gear of the plane and was crushed when the wheels retracted. His remains were found in the plane's wheel well after it landed in Qatar.

Anwari played for Afghanistan's youth soccer team when he was 16. The national team on Wednesday posted a tribute to the player. "To go to America and find a better future, he rode on the wheels of the American airplane with several other compatriots who fell to the ground while flying," an English translation of the statement read. "May his soul rest in peace and his memory be remembered."

At least 12 people have been killed in and around Kabul's airport since Taliban took the city on Sunday. In the city of Jalalabad, the Taliban killed at least three people during a protest against the group. Tens of thousands of U.S. citizens reportedly remain in Afghanistan.

Published under: Afghanistan, Kabul, Taliban