The first voice message was from a 16-year-old forward, knee-deep in a trench filled with sewage and panicking in the crowds swarming Hamid Karzai International Airport. “We are desperate,” she cried over the clamor of gunfire and coughing children. “I cannot stand on my feet. I cannot.”

A second message, an instant later, pinged from a defender stuck at a Taliban checkpoint: “I fell down. Our phones are dying.” Other soccer players had been lost in the crush of thousands trying to breach the airport’s Main Gate, where a goalkeeper had fainted. “She’s out of breath,” a teammate shouted. Read More