13-year-old boy in Afghanistan pens letter asking Canada for help

With the Taliban in control of Afghanistan, a desperate plea from a 13-year-old boy in Kabul has made its way to Canada.

The boy, who CTV News Toronto is not identifying, says in a letter, "In my native tongue, my name means light, and my light has burned bright."

"My goal is to be a mathematician or an engineer. I want to raise my voice for Afghan women, and the Afghan youth."

"But everything has changed, and my light is dimming. Now, I wake up to the sounds of bullets and bombs exploding and places near my house getting hit by the Taliban rockets."

A family member here in Canada says, "To have all those hopes, aspirations for the future just taken away from them, for reasons that they couldn't control, I'm heartbroken. I wish I could so more."

The family member, who CTV News Toronto is only identifying as Mirvise, says he is fearful that if his family cannot escape Kabul, his relative, who had been focused on higher education, will be forced down a different path.

"Within the next four or five years, he might start thinking like them, he might start talking like them. He believes in women's rights today, but within five years of brainwashing he may start to stop believing in that. He may turn into the Taliban. That's what scares me the most," Mirvise said.

The boy who wrote the letter has a sister, a mother, and female cousins who all attend school in Afghanistan. He is one of seven members of the same family who are trying to come to Canada and their lawyer here says they are at great risk if they stay.

"This family has publicly allied itself with the need for girl’s education, and has done so in a high-profile way," says immigration lawyer Erin Simpson.

Simpson, who has been working with the Canadian government for a month, hopes they will issue temporary resident permits for the family.

This comes as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that Canada will be scheduling “regular flights" in and out of Afghanistan, but also spoke of the challenges that the international community is facing in evacuating civilians.

"Many of those international flights are leaving the Kabul airport, not full. There are real challenges and impediments on the ground in terms of getting people out," Trudeau said Thursday.

However, Simpson says Canada needs to act fast.

"Canada can and should be doing more to get people out and evacuated now, this is the moment to do it and this family should be on this list," she says.

With each day that passes, Mirvise says that hope is becoming more bleak.

"He thought of living in a different future than what the Taliban are promising to him. And I feel powerless in helping him.'

In the letter, the 13-year-old boy says, "I cannot sleep at night because I am scared of the sound of bullets and hearing bombing."

"We are asking Canada – home to the rest of our family, and protector of the Afghan people – to provide us safe haven."