Report: California Family Still Stranded in Afghanistan

An Afghan family wait on the runway after disembarking a plane from Afghanistan, at the Torrejon military base as part of the evacuation process in Madrid, Monday. Aug. 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrea Comas)
AP Photo/Andrea Comas

At least one El Cajon, California, family is still stranded in Afghanistan following the Biden administration’s disastrous withdrawal from the Taliban-run country, according to a report.

According to NBC 7, Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) last week identified eight families still stranded in the country as U.S. evacuation efforts were underway. They began to make their return to the states August 23, but according to the outlet, some still remain.

“The students who are part of that family go to schools in the Cajon Valley Union School District in east San Diego County,” the outlet reported, noting the CVUSD spokesperson assured the district is “exploring strategies to rescue and bring them home”:

On Tuesday, Rep. Issa told NBC 7 his office has been in contact with around five families in or near Kabul, Afghanistan, who are sheltered in place in what appear to be, for now, safe-havens.

Now that U.S. military and State Department personnel have left the country, Issa said there is no easy way to extract the families. The system for extraction, which included documentation and verification with the State Department, broke down over the last few days, according to Issa.

“Two of the family units got through the checkpoints but were not extracted. After multiple attempts, they went back home. We’re now looking for alternate ways to get these individuals out,” Issa said.

“We’re dealing with some tough situations and some very traumatized individuals and doing what we can to stay in touch with them, but it’s a very fluid situation,” he added.

A Marine with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command (SPMAGTF-CR-CC) lifts an evacuee during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 26. U.S. service members are assisting the Department of State with an orderly drawdown of designated personnel in Afghanistan. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Samuel Ruiz).

A Marine with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command lifts an evacuee during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, August 26, 2021. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Samuel Ruiz)

Others, however, have made it to the states, including four families which include seven adults and fourteen students.

“The safe return of our Cajon Valley family and raising awareness of the more than 20,000 ‘invisible Americans’ according to our Family and Community Liaisons is our focus now,” CVUSD spokesperson Howard Shen said, according to the outlet.

“Our employees and rescued families estimate that more than 1,000 children who are either U.S. citizens or the children of SIVs are still trapped in Afghanistan,” Shen added.

On Tuesday, the Sacramento area’s San Juan Unified School District affirmed 29 California students were still stranded in the Taliban-run country, and that same day, President Joe Biden admitted his administration left Americans behind.

“Now we believe that about 100 to 200 Americans remain in Afghanistan with some intention to leave. Most of those that remain are dual citizens, longtime residents who had earlier decided to stay because of their family roots in Afghanistan,” Biden said.

Biden walks away II (Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

President Joe Biden walks from the podium after speaking about the end of the war in Afghanistan from the State Dining Room of the White House, August 31, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

“The bottom line, ninety percent of Americans in Afghanistan who wanted to leave were able to leave. And for those remaining Americans, there is no deadline. We remain committed to get them out if they want to come out,” he added.


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