As the primary anniversary of the disastrous US pullout from Afghanistan approaches, a sufferer of one in all its most grotesque tragedies lastly has a reputation.
Zabi Rezayee, 17, was one of many determined civilians who clung to the touchdown gear and wheel covers of a US Air Drive C-17 because it taxied down the runway of Kabul’s Hamid Karzai Worldwide Airport on Aug. 16, 2021 — solely to fall to his demise on the tarmac, his father advised the Sunday Instances of London.
And Zabi’s brother Zaki, 19, who joined his tried escape from the Taliban, has not been heard from since, stated Mohammed Rezayee.
“I’m hurting, I’m indignant, however there’s nothing I can do,” Rezayee, 42, stated. “I’ve buried one son and I don’t even know if the opposite one is useless or alive.”
Horrifying cell-phone movies of the younger males who grabbed maintain of the enormous cargo aircraft on take-off, then dropped helplessly to the bottom because it gained altitude, gripped the globe as America’s struggle in Afghanistan got here to its chaotic and ignominious finish.
At the least 5 would-be stowaways have been killed, though the precise quantity was by no means decided. Two landed in a residential neighborhood, splattering blood throughout a house owner’s roof. One was discovered crushed within the aircraft’s wheel nicely when it landed in Qatar.
And two, together with Zabi, smashed again right down to the runway.
“I blame the pilot and I blame the Individuals who have been answerable for the airport safety,” Rezayee, a father of eight, stated bitterly.
“Why did the pilot make the choice to take off when he knew individuals have been holding onto the plane?” the distraught dad requested. “I don’t assume these clinging on actually believed the aircraft would go away.”
The Air Drive cleared the aircraft’s crew of wrongdoing final month, Navy.com reported.
The youngsters didn’t inform their dad and mom of their plans to flee the nation.
“I discovered once I bought a name from them on the airport,” their father stated. “They sounded excited, they stated they have been about to board the aircraft. I used to be glad for them, glad that they have been leaving to someplace secure as a result of we have been all so afraid of what would occur right here with the Taliban in management.”
The decision lasted solely a minute or two. “That was the final time I spoke to them,” he stated.
Minutes later, a stranger referred to as Rezayee from Zabi’s telephone.
“The man on my son’s telephone stated they discovered Zabi’s useless physique,” Rezayee advised Vice Information this week. He ran the 4 miles to the airport. “I discovered him in items.” Somebody had draped a shawl over the teenager’s naked, damaged decrease half.
However the father’s search of Kabul’s hospitals and jails turned up no signal of Zaki, his oldest boy.
“To at the present time, I’ve by no means acquired any details about Zaki,” he stated. His “tormented” spouse “says a bit of prayer each time she hears her telephone ring, desperately hoping it will likely be some information.”
“It’s the not figuring out that’s the toughest to cope with,” he stated.
“They have been form boys. They preferred to play soccer,” Rezayee recalled. “They have been educated. Zaki may converse English. He used to show his youthful siblings a bit.”
The household has struggled because the Taliban’s grip despatched half the nation’s individuals into near-starvation. With out his sons’ assist, Rezayee stated, he may now not run his fruit and vegetable store.
“It looks like a waste of time to be indignant about my sons. I’ve to make use of that vitality to discover a solution to assist my remaining youngsters,” he stated.
“However I’d give something to know what occurred to Zaki.”