'I can't sleep': Teen's fear for family stranded in Afghanistan
- Credit: Contributed
A teen who has not seen his family for five years after fleeing Afghanistan has said he cries himself to sleep every night out of fear for them.
Zahid Shinwari, 19, of White House Court in Upper Hellesdon, had not heard from his mother, sister, and two younger brothers for years until recently.
The family had lost touch after Zahid travelled to the UK with his older brother Hikmat when he was 14 to pursue a new life.
But Mr Shinwari has recently been told his family, including his mother, 16-year-old sister and two younger brothers, aged nine and eight, are scared for their lives in the Taliban-occupied country.
Mr Shinwari, who studied at City College, said his father is likely to be killed if the Taliban find out he is a doctor who has been working with the US and Nato forces in Afghanistan.
His older brother, 20, was unexpectedly able to receive a call from their father this week who informed them of the family's perilous situation.
The last they heard from their father, the family were in Jalalabad, of the Nangarhar Province in the east of the country.
Mr Shinwari, who grew up in Tor Chaphar, a village bordering Afghanistan, said: "Every night I cry due to getting stressed as I do not know what is going to happen and not being able to help them.
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"I am worried they will find out my father worked with the army and that they are going to kill my brothers, sister and mum.
"They do not want them to know. Everywhere is Taliban occupied and it's a very, very hard situation for them.
"In that moment I was really happy to finally hear from them but upon listening to the situation they were in, I haven't been able to sleep peacefully and just want to get them out."
Mr Shinwari recalls having no chance to say goodbye to his family after his brother woke him up to leave for the UK when he was 14. He said he was not expecting it at the time.
It comes as the UK government is in talks with Taliban members in an attempt to secure a safe passage for those eligible for relocation from Afghanistan.