Afghanistan’s ‘Little Messi’ flees home after Taliban threats, says family

Afghan child Murtaza Ahmadi posing with a jersey sent to him by Argentine football star Lionel Messi in 2016Image copyright
AFP / Unicef

Image caption

Murtaza Ahmadi with a sealed Messi shirt, that was sent to him after being photographed in a homemade version

A immature Afghan child who was done famous online for his friendship to footballer Lionel Messi has been forced to rush his home for a second time.

Murtaza Ahmadi, now aged seven, went viral in 2016 after being photographed wearing a homemade Messi shirt, fashioned out of a cosmetic bag.

He after met his favourite in Qatar.

His family contend they have now deserted their home in Afghanistan, after receiving threats from a Taliban.

They were vital in a south-eastern Ghazni range – that militants have been targeting – and have transient to a capital, Kabul.

They formerly sought short-term retreat in Pakistan in 2016, though returned when they ran out of money, according to AFP news agency.

The temporary shirt

Murtaza was 5 years aged when he wore a plastic-bag shirt in a white-and-blue colours of a Argentine inhabitant team, that Messi captains. It had a player’s series 10 drawn on a front with a coop pen.

Media captionA print of five-year-old Murtaza Ahmadi wearing a homemade Lionel Messi shirt went viral

After a print was common widely on amicable networks, people called for him to be found so Messi could respond.

When a boy’s name was released, a actor sent him a package – including a sealed shirt – around a children’s gift Unicef, that he works for as an ambassador.

Murtaza was after invited to accommodate Messi when a Barcelona star played a accessible in Doha in late 2016. The immature fan walked on to a representation with his idol.

The Taliban threats

However, his family contend they fear a celebrity has done him a Taliban target.

“Local strongmen were job and saying, ‘You have turn rich, compensate a income we have perceived from Messi or we will take your son’,” his mother, Shafiqa, told AFP.

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She pronounced were not means to take any of their effects – including a changed shirt – when afterwards left their home in a center of a night after conference gunshots.

Image copyright

Image caption

Murtaza, his relatives and his 4 brothers are vital in one room in a common Kabul apartment

A home underneath siege

Murtaza’s family are partial of a Shia-denominated Hazara racial group, that has been targeted by a Sunni Taliban.

The Ghazni area stays underneath state control, though it is deliberate to be of vital significance in a dispute between a supervision and a Taliban.

The tough Islamic organisation launched a vital attack on a area in Aug and renewed their efforts in November, forcing thousands of locals to flee. Hundreds of people – civilians, soldiers, and insurgents – were killed in a conflict of violence.

Murtaza’s 17-year-old brother, Humayoon, told Efe news organisation that they had not been means to send him to propagandize for a past dual years and they do not let him play in a street.

“I skip Messi,” Murtaza said, when AFP found him in Kabul. He pronounced he hopes to accommodate him again one day.

“When we accommodate him, we will say, ‘Salaam’ and ‘How are you?’ Then he will respond observant appreciate we and be safe, and we will go with him to a representation where he will play and we will watch him.”

Media captionLionel Messi looked after Murtaza on a pitch