Dozens of California schoolchildren and their families remain stranded in Afghanistan following the Biden administration’s botched withdrawal from the war-torn country, the Los Angeles Times reported this week.
What are the details?
In a newsletter published Wednesday morning, the Times offered updates on the whereabouts of several San Diego County and Sacramento-area students who were left behind amid the chaotic evacuation from the now-Taliban-controlled country in August.
The paper noted that “there are dozens of Sacramento-area families still in the country, according to the San Juan Unified School District.”
“Recently, three families — including seven students — made it back to the U.S. But about 38 students are still there,” the Times noted.
The Sacramento City Unified School District reportedly told the paper that “an Afghan immigrant family with three children” enrolled at one of its elementary schools also sought help in fleeing, but “the students have not yet returned to the school.”
Representatives from both school districts expressed hopefulness about the students’ eventual safe return.
In addition to the stranded students and families from Sacramento-area schools, at least one parent and four students from the Cajon Valley Union School District in San Diego County remain stranded in Afghanistan, Republican Rep. Darrell Issa confirmed.
“We are tracking one remaining El Cajon family unit, and it includes El Cajon schoolchildren,” a spokesman for Issa told the Times. “We’ve provided their names, documents and other detailed information to the State Department on numerous occasions [emphasis his] — as well as discussed them with [the State Department] repeatedly. Congressman Issa and his team continue to press official channels including State, DOD, DHS, and the White House on a daily basis.”
In response to a request for comment, a State Department spokesperson told the paper, “We have assisted 105 U.S. citizens and 95 lawful permanent residents (LPRs) to depart Afghanistan. These are the numbers of people whose individual departures we directly facilitated.”
But when asked about specific individuals, the spokesperson reportedly said that “due to privacy considerations, we are unable to comment on specific cases.”
When the last U.S. plane departed Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug. 30, Pentagon officials confirmed that hundreds of Americans had been left behind.
The administration has been widely condemned for its failure to evacuate every American citizen and Afghan friendly amid the Taliban’s takeover of the country, especially in light of reports that the State Department has actively interfered with evacuation efforts.
The president, however, has insisted that his administration will work tirelessly to assist every American who wants to flee Afghanistan to do so.