As the primary anniversary of the disastrous US pullout from Afghanistan approaches, a sufferer of certainly one of its most ugly 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, mentioned Mohammed Rezayee.

“I’m hurting, I’m indignant, however there’s nothing I can do,” Rezayee, 42, mentioned. “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 large cargo plane on take-off, then dropped helplessly to the bottom because it gained altitude, gripped the globe as America’s battle in Afghanistan got here to its chaotic and ignominious finish.

At the very least 5 would-be stowaways had 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 plane’s wheel nicely when it landed in Qatar.

In this handout image provided by the Ministry of Defence, a full flight of 265 people are evacuated out of Kabul by the UK Armed Forces on August 21, 2021 in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Zabi Rezayee’s father, Mohammed, questioned why the US army departed the Hamid Karzai Worldwide Airport with evacuees “holding onto the plane.”
Ben Shread/MoD Crown Copyright through Getty Photographs

And two, together with Zabi, smashed again all the way down to the runway.

“I blame the pilot and I blame the Individuals who had been answerable for the airport safety,” Rezayee, a father of eight, mentioned bitterly.

“Why did the pilot make the choice to take off when he knew individuals had been holding onto the plane?” the distraught dad requested. “I don’t assume these clinging on actually believed the plane would depart.”

A US Marine grabes an infant over a barbed wire fence during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 19, 2021.
A US Marine grabs an toddler over a barbed wire fence throughout an evacuation at Hamid Karzai Worldwide Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 19, 2021.
Courtesy of Omar Haidiri/AFP through Getty Photographs

The Air Drive cleared the plane’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 came upon after I bought a name from them on the airport,” their father mentioned. “They sounded excited, they mentioned they had been about to board the plane. I used to be completely satisfied for them, completely satisfied that they had been leaving to someplace protected as a result of we had been all so scared 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 mentioned.

Minutes later, a stranger referred to as Rezayee from Zabi’s cellphone.

“The man on my son’s cellphone mentioned 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 teen’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 this present day, I’ve by no means acquired any details about Zaki,” he mentioned. His “tormented” spouse “says a little bit prayer each time she hears her cellphone ring, desperately hoping will probably be some information.”

“It’s the not realizing that’s the toughest to cope with,” he mentioned.

“They had been form boys. They favored to play soccer,” Rezayee recalled. “They had been educated. Zaki might communicate English. He used to show his youthful siblings a bit.”

Taliban fighters atop vehicles with Taliban flags parade along a road to celebrate after the US pulled all its troops out of Afghanistan, in Kandahar on September 1, 2021 following the Talibans military takeover of the country.
Residents have handled droughts and famine situations ever for the reason that Taliban took over.
JAVED TANVEER/AFP through Getty Photographs

The household has struggled because the Taliban’s grip despatched half the nation’s individuals into near-starvation. With out his sons’ assist, Rezayee mentioned, he might not run his fruit and vegetable store.

“It appears like a waste of time to be indignant about my sons. I’ve to make use of that power to discover a solution to help my remaining kids,” he mentioned.

“However I’d give something to know what occurred to Zaki.”

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