Afghan boy who wore makeshift Messi shirt flees home

An Afghan boy who went viral over his love of the Argentinian footballer Lionel Messi has needed to flee his house after being hunted by means of the Taliban.

Murtaza Ahmadi, now elderly 7, was once pictured dressed in a do-it-yourself Messi blouse that his brother shaped out of a blue and white plastic bag in 2016.

The colors matched the jersey of the Argentinian nationwide aspect, and the footballer’s identify and blouse quantity had been scrawled at the again in pen.

Murtaza, who later met his idol after the picture went viral, needed to flee Afghanistan’s southeastern Ghazni province along with his circle of relatives in November.

The UN has stated four,000 households left amid intense preventing after the Taliban introduced an offensive within the up to now secure space.

Murtaza's plastic bag jersey was made by his older brother
Murtaza’s plastic bag jersey was once made by means of his older brother

Witnesses have described “absolute terror” as masses of civilians, infantrymen and insurgents had been killed within the preventing.

Murtaza’s circle of relatives belongs to the Shiite-denominated Hazara ethnic staff, who had been focused by means of the Sunni Taliban within the assaults.

The boy is now residing in a cramped room within the capital Kabul along with his mom and brother.

His father Arif has remained in Jaghori the place he works as a farmer.

Shafiqa has stated the Taliban were on the lookout for her son by means of identify.

She stated: “(They) stated in the event that they seize him, they are going to reduce him into items.”

Messi clutches the young fan's hand before a friendly match in Qatar
Messi clutches the younger fan’s hand prior to a pleasant fit in Qatar

Murtaza’s older brother Houmayoun, who made the Messi plastic bag jersey, stated: “We’re frightened one thing unhealthy will occur in the event that they know who Murtaza is.”

Shafiqa added that she concealed her well-known son’s face with a shawl to forestall him from being recognised as they fled Ghazni.

She additionally advised how they left their house district of Jaghori within the evening after listening to gunshots.

Shafiqa stated: “We could not take any of our assets, we left best with our lives.”

Barcelona ahead Messi, a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, met with the teen after the picture emerged 2016.

Murtaza clutched the footballer’s hand as he walked out onto the pitch with him for a Barcelona pleasant in Qatar.

Messi gave him a signed blouse and ball, which have been some of the possessions left at the back of when the circle of relatives fled Jaghori.

Murtaza stated: “I would like them again so I will play.”

“I pass over Messi.

“After I meet him (once more), I will be able to say, ‘Salaam’ and ‘How are you?’ Then he’s going to answer pronouncing thanks and be secure, and I will be able to cross with him to the pitch the place he’s going to play and I will be able to watch him.”

Sports activities had been infrequently tolerated underneath the 1996-2001 Taliban regime, and the Kabul soccer stadium was once a well known venue for stonings and executions.

Afghan safety forces have crushed again the Taliban in Jaghori, however Shafiqa has stated she does not really feel her circle of relatives is secure there.

She stated: “The risk of the Taliban coming again is prime, going again isn’t an possibility.”

The youngster plays football in his signed Messi shirt
The teen performs soccer in his signed Messi blouse

Shafiqa has additionally advised how her circle of relatives gained undesirable consideration from the picture of Murtaza within the makeshift Messi blouse.

She stated: “Native strongmen had been calling and pronouncing, ‘You may have grow to be wealthy, pay the cash you have got gained from Messi or we can take your son’.

“At evening we might now and again see unknown males, looking at and checking our space, after which the calls.

“Throughout the times, we would not dare let him out of doors house to play with different youngsters.”

The circle of relatives have already fled as soon as prior to after they sought asylum in Pakistan in 2016.

They returned reluctantly after their cash ran out.

The circle of relatives are amongst greater than 300,000 Afghans who’ve fled their properties because of violence because the starting of 2018 by myself, consistent with the UN’s company for humanitarian affairs.

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