CyclingTips Podcast: The violence and silence behind the UCI’s PR moment

How an Afghanistan evacuation convoy was tarnished by torture, abuse and death threats.

by Abby Mickey

photography by Getty Images

In this special episode of the CyclingTips podcast, our Senior Features Editor Iain Treloar digs into the evacuation efforts of Afghan cyclists in the wake of the Taliban’s return. 

Off the back of months of reporting, we reveal the bullying and blackmail behind a famous cyclist evacuation convoy backed by the UCI – and how the lists had been manipulated by the President of the Afghan Cycling Federation, Fazli Ahmad Fazli, to benefit family and friends instead of cyclists. With UCI backing, they received asylum, and Fazli received a major UCI award.  

Since CyclingTips broke the story, whistleblowers have been directly targeted, and a cyclist that Fazli believed to be a CyclingTips source was kidnapped and tortured for four days. Death threats have been issued, and now the Taliban is being sent after cyclists – apparently at Fazli’s orders. In a message to one cyclist, he said that the Taliban were his allies, and wrote that “until they have sent me pictures of their dead bodies, I will not rest.”

This is a raw and sometimes challenging listen, but it’s important.

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