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Afghan youth national soccer player killed falling from US aircraft at Kabul airport

Hundreds of Afghan civilians desperate to leave the country swarmed a U.S. cargo plane Monday as it was attempting to take off, some clinging to the side of it.

WASHINGTON — A member of Afghanistan's national youth soccer team was one of the people who died after falling from a U.S. military plane on Monday, the country's official sports federation said in a statement posted online

Zaki Anwari, 17, was one of hundreds of young people trying to leave the country when he fell off an American military plane and died, the statement said, according to translations of the post from CNN, The New York Times and other outlets. 

On Monday, hundreds of Afghan civilians desperate to leave the country newly seized by the Taliban swarmed a U.S. C-17 cargo plane as it was attempting to take off. Videos of the incident showed civilians trying to cling to the side of the plane as it attempted to take off from Kabul. Images of people falling from the aircraft were widely shared on social media.

The U.S. Air Force said it is reviewing the incident, but did not say how many people died. It said human remains were later found in the plane’s wheel well after it landed at al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar. 

According to the New York Times, the head of media relations for Afghanistan's sports federation and its Olympic committee said Anwari was kind and patient but saw the Taliban's arrival as "the end of his dreams and sports opportunities." 

Photos posted online by the federation showed Anwari in his team uniform. 

The C-17 military plane involved in the incident landed at the Kabul airport to deliver equipment for the evacuation effort, according to the U.S. Air Force. Before the crew could offload the cargo, the aircraft was surrounded by hundreds of Afghan civilians who had breeched the security perimeter. Because the security situation was getting worse, the crew decided to take off, the Air Force said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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