How David Lappartient, the president of the International Cycling Union, took France on a funny Afghan adventure
Side face, the effort is admirable. In the panic of the capture of Kabul by the Taliban, during the summer of 2021, the president of the International Cycling Union (UCI),…
Side face, the effort is admirable. In the panic of the capture of Kabul by the Taliban, during the summer of 2021, the president of the International Cycling Union (UCI), David Lappartient, wets his shirt to come to the aid of Afghan and especially Afghan cyclists, symbols of the emancipation of women and therefore privileged targets of Islamist power.
At the end of the day, two successful evacuation operations of Afghan nationals. The first, which takes place in mid-August, allows 17 people to be exfiltrated by military aircraft. As part of the second operation, at the end of September, 125 Afghans were transferred to Western countries via Albania. On the list of evacuees, the contents of which have never been made public, are not only cyclists, but also members of local civil society, explain to World David Lappartient, who describes this episode as being “almost the adventure of a lifetime”.
The beautiful story, widely relayed by the UCI and its president, could have stopped there. It was without counting on Australian journalist Iain Treloar, at the time editor of the Australian specialist media CyclingTips. A few weeks after the second evacuation, the latter thus echoes serious accusations relating to its unfolding. “Many sources claim to CyclingTips than the list was manipulated by the Afghan Cycling Federation to favor family and friends of its leaders, with attempts to silence dissenting voices”, he says. According to an Afghan source of the journalist, only 24 of the 125 pengers are cyclists.
Anonymous accusations, but reinforced by the testimony of Shannon Galpin, American activist of the non-governmental organization IsraAID and promoter of the Afghan female bicycle. Initially responsible for drawing up the list of cyclists to be evacuated, she claims to have been gradually ousted in favor of the president of the Afghan federation, Fazli Ahmad Fazli. His testimony is supported by the campaign to discredit him on social networks by the Afghan federation, which accuses him of fraud and questions his sanityin a series of lunar messages posted on social networks.
Iain Treloar will later reveal the content of the threats that Mr. Fazli would have sent to certain cyclists who remained on the spot: “Know that I have many friends in Afghanistan. If you don’t want yourself and your family to get hurt, stay calm.”or “I will find you soon, and know that I will not be calm until I see your corpses.”
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