Verbs, as a rule, are content words and carry a meaning. Some kind of fear or fright should underlie a feeling of being afraid.
I am afraid of the dark, venomous snakes, death,… but of being disallowed to leave the country?
Miss Prissy, a hypocrite who feigns concern for humankind and pretends to be a caring person, might say "I am afraid you won't pass the test." It doesn't say Miss Prissy is fearful of anything in any way. (She is just being herself). Switching the order, "You won't pass the test, I am afraid," would change little as far as Miss Prissy's attitude towards me is concerned. Perhaps—just perhaps—she would mean to break the news to me, and her I am afraid
might be an afterthought. ("Unfortunately" from her would be too much.)
doesn't mean being concerned or worried
. Being afraid
doesn't convey a feeling of regret or unhappiness either, and I don't care what dictionaries want you to think.