A schoolboy who walked a staggering 5,000 miles across Europe to flee the Taliban has shared his remarkable story.
Just over a year ago Sayed, 15, was living with his parents, two younger sisters and brother on the outskirts of Jalalabad, in eastern Afghanistan.
But when the Taliban came calling his family smuggled him out of the country, with instructions to make his way to relatives in Birmingham.
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During his gruelling journey, which took over a year, he walked through Iran, Turkey, Serbia, Slovenia, Austria, Germany and France, evading border controls, enduring abuse, and living off scraps.
Sharing his incredible story with BirminghamLive Sayed said: "They [Taliban] were taking the 15-year-old kids to make them train to be soldiers, to use bombs, and take them to Kabul and different places."
"They said to my parents that my uncle had been in the Taliban and was dead, he was killed, so they would take me to take his place. So my parents decided to send me here [Birmingham]."
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Sayed averaged around 15 miles a day, sometimes more. He still has pains in his side and shoulder from repeated nights sleeping rough, reports BirminghamLive.
When he got to Calais, he was stuck in the so-called Jungle detention camp for several weeks. The conditions there were particularly appalling, he said, guards treated him badly and his body bitten all over by insects.
A support worker processed his claim as an unaccompanied minor to be reunited with his uncle's family – which resulted in him being put on a train through the Euro Tunnel and on to Birmingham.
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Now settled in Biringham he only gets to speak to his parents occasionally due to limited internet and phone connections in Jalalabad.
"It is better in Birmingham than being in Afghanistan. But my wish is to have my parents and siblings back with me. I wish they could all come here."
Sayed's final message for anyone tempted to follow in his footsteps is: . "Don't do it. It was really, really hard."
He now attends the Jewellery Quarter Academy, part of the CORE Education Trust, to help young refugees deal with emotional trauma, learn English and make academic strides.
The Jewellery Quarter Academy, which has 608 children aged 11-16 who speak over 40 languages, was recently accredited as a Refugee Welcome School.
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Jewellery Quarter Academy headteacher Jamie Barton said: "What he [Sayed] has been through is really remarkable. He has been so brave."
"I am so proud and privileged to be head of a school that truly welcomes everyone. That was recently recognised by Ofsted, which has just rated us good in all areas – and the first line in the report was to recognise our welcoming ethos.
He added: "What is special here is the atmosphere of harmony and tolerance. Whether people are born here or drawn here, our students all call this city home and this school is part of that. It helps us unite and share in each other's differences."
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