Afghan ‘Messi boy’ is forced to flee home af­ter Tale­ban at­tack

Khaleej Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

kabul — The fam­ily of an Afghan boy who gained brief In­ter­net fame af­ter be­ing pho­tographed in a shirt im­pro­vised from a plas­tic bag in the colours of his hero, Ar­gen­tine soccer idol Lionel Messi, has been forced to flee his home af­ter a Tale­ban at­tack.

Mur­taza Ah­madi, now aged 7, grabbed world head­lines two years ago when his brother made him a shirt out of a blue and white plas­tic bag, with Messi’s name and num­ber 10 playing num­ber.

His sud­den fame won him a meet­ing with his hero but caused prob­lems for his fam­ily, mem­bers of the Hazara eth­nic mi­nor­ity from Jaghori dis­trict in the cen­tral prov­ince of Ghazni. “Mur­taza be­came fa­mous around the world and we are not able to walk free and go any­where. Mur­taza and my other chil­dren were not able to go to school,” his mother Shafiqa

Ah­madi said in the home in Kabul where the fam­ily is stay­ing.

“Dur­ing the night sus­pected men were walk­ing near our house and when the Tale­ban at­tacked our vil­lage we de­cided to leave.”

Ghazni has been the scene of in­tense fight­ing this year. The Tale­ban briefly over­ran Ghazni city in Au­gust and there has been heavy fight­ing in Jaghori, forc­ing thou­sands to flee. —

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