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A Teenage Afghan Soccer Player Was One Of The People Who Fell From A US Military Plane In The Air And Died

Zaki Anwari was a promising soccer player and high school student who dreamed of making Afghanistan "a big name on the world stage."

Posted on August 20, 2021, at 10:41 a.m. ET

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A teenage member of Afghanistan's national youth soccer team has been identified as one of the people who fell from a US military plane in the sky and died as thousands desperately tried to flee amid the Taliban's takeover.

Zaki Anwari, a promising soccer player and high school student, was "among the hundreds of young people who wanted to leave the country" and died after falling from a US military plane, the national sports department said on Thursday.

It's unclear exactly how old Anwari was. Media reports say he was 19 or 17.

On Monday, crowds were seen running after a US Air Force plane on the runway with several people clinging to its side as it prepared to take off. Grisly videos circulating on social media show at least two people falling from the plane in the sky.

A bright student and a former member of the national under-16s team, Anwari wanted to be a world-class soccer player, his former teammate Rahil Abid told CBS News. "He dreamed of making Afghanistan a big name on the world stage," Abid said.

On Facebook, Anwari posted photos from his training sessions and with his classmates at Esteghlal High School.

The soccer team had a training session the day before the Taliban took control of Kabul, Abid added. As news spread of the Taliban closing in on the city, Abid told CBS News that Anwari and his friends rushed to the airport.

Thousands of Afghans have flooded the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul since the weekend, and the US has been scrambling to evacuate Americans and Afghans.

One viral photo from this week captured the inside of a US military plane packed with hundreds of Afghan and American civilians.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan said President Biden had seen the "heartbreaking" images of people hanging onto a US military plane and falling to their deaths. When pressed by a reporter two days after the incident, Biden said, "that was four, five days ago!"

The US Air Force said Tuesday that officials found human remains in the wheel well of one of its planes, a C-17, from Kabul. Online, videos show people carrying young children and handing them to soldiers on the other side of the airport wall.

The horrific scenes at the airport underscore the terror and chaos brought on by the Taliban's swift takeover of the country and the collapse of the Afghan government as US forces withdrew.

On Thursday, a spokesperson for the US Pentagon said officials don't know how many Americans are still in Afghanistan.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.