Don't send me back to Afghanistan, says 19-year-old Najibullah Hashimi who was orphaned by the Taliban

Asylum seeker appealing against Home Office decision to remove him

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The Independent Online

A teenage asylum seeker fighting to remain in the UK has said he is frightened of a return to his native Afghanistan, where his father and brother were shot and killed by the Taliban.

Najibullah Hashimi, who says he was smuggled into the UK after his relatives were murdered within two days of each other by militants, is today appealing a Home Office decision to remove him to his home country.

He is being forced to return because he turned 18 last year and is now obliged to head back.

But the 19-year-old has settled well in the UK and has the full backing of his teammates at Rodmersham Cricket Club in Kent.

Speaking to ITV's Daybreak alongside his foster father Steve Griffiths, Mr Hashimi said there was "nothing left for him" in Afghanistan.

He said: "My father and brother were murdered by the Taliban, so what they (the Home Office) are doing to me is not very fair. I have a really good family life here.

"There's nothing (in Afghanistan). If they send me back I don't want to be there. I have no family there.

"I'm here to have a good life and to be safe. [In Afghanistan] I am not safe."

Campaigners have rallied to support Mr Hashimi, who arrived in the country several years ago, unable to speak English.

However, he has excelled at school, securing 13 GCSEs, and is an aspiring teacher.

Speaking before the hearing in London this morning, Mr Hashimi added: "I have already lost one family, I am going to be losing a second one."

His foster father said the Home Office had "set them up to fail", saying they did not believe evidence in Mr Hashimi's case.

"He's never told a lie to anyone," Mr Griffiths told Daybreak.

"My two sons love him."

Members of Mr Hashimi's cricket team are also backing their friend today.

Campaigner Mick Nokes, who will accompany Mr Hashimi to the hearing, said: "I've never met anyone with a bad word against him. He is polite, caring and he will always give his best."

Mr Nokes, who met Mr Hashimi through the cricket club, said the teenager wants a five-year residency permit to remain in the UK.

He continued: "He has fitted into British life marvellously. It's all about respect. He has kept his own religion but he has fully embraced the British way of life."

The hearing will take place at the Taylor House Immigration and Asylum Tribunal in London.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "We cannot comment in detail on this case while legal proceedings are ongoing.

"The UK only returns individuals if both the Home Office and the courts are satisfied they do not need our protection and have no legal basis to remain in the country.

"We encourage these people to leave voluntarily and offer assistance to those who do so."