As the US approaches two months after the catastrophic withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, several dozen American schoolchildren and a few family members are still trapped in the war-torn country now brutally controlled by the Taliban.
On Wednesday, the Sacramento Bee reported that about 41 children from the San Juan Unified School District were trapped behind enemy lines in Afghanistan. The children and relatives had gone to Afghanistan on special visas for military service and were visiting during the summer holidays.
Dozens of California Schoolchildren Still Stuck in Afghanistan, Biden State Department Mom https://t.co/rEoCOBUCjx pic.twitter.com/NEtMJ9BFH9
— The Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) October 6, 2021
RELATED: Gen. McKenzie admits Taliban offered to let US secure Kabul during evacuation, but didn’t consider it a ‘formal offer’
Who’s still there?
Initially, school district officials said only a few dozen were left in Afghanistan and eight students were detained. Last week, officials from the San Juan Unified School District identified the 41 students as still in Afghanistan. Of those 41, the district says three have been evacuated but are still abroad.
It was also initially thought that only one family was left, but attendance records show that more students are missing and can be traced back to those left behind in Afghanistan.
The situation is a bit more dire for students at the Cajon Valley Union School District. The number of U.S. students and those with special immigrant visas (SIVs) can be as high as 1,000.
In early September, the Los Angeles Times reported that 24 students and 16 parents from the ward were also detained. Three students are also stranded in Sacramento City’s Unified School District.
You left California schoolchildren in Afghanistan.
— Tom Tuttle’s VD is going to Borgo Pass tonight (@MarkWahhid) October 6, 2021
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RELATED: Report: Milley Blamed Biden State Department For Withdrawal From Afghanistan
What is being done to get them out?
There are reports that Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) tries to help get American students, their families and others out of Afghanistan. The Los Angeles Times reports that Issa and district officials “try daily to remind the White House, DHS and the State Department that there are children trapped behind enemy lines and threatened by the Taliban.”
Issa says that while a few have been rescued, there is more work to be done. He said: “Yes, there has been some success and we are delighted that these children are back in school and their parents are united.”
He continued: “But we also know that there is a lot more work to be done and that working through official channels and with foreign and unofficial channels will take a lot of work.”
Issa added that he believes there may still be “thousands” or “tens of thousands” of US citizens and special visa holders who are still “wasting away in Afghanistan” or “neighboring countries waiting to come home” to America.
Thanks for your report Trey. I have been personally involved in helping more than 30 families escape Afghanistan, but we cannot and will not give up until every American and Green Card holder has returned home. https://t.co/KcmciSAc10
— Darrell Issa (@DarrellIssa) September 24, 2021
RELATED: Marine jailed for criticizing Afghanistan disaster refuses Trump aid: ‘I’d rather be in jail’
Response from Biden Administration
Biden’s State Department is tight-lipped about how hard they are trying to get stranded Americans out of Afghanistan. Officials say they have “repatriated” about 105 U.S. citizens and 95 legal permanent residents.
The State Department also said “
These are the numbers of people whose individual departures we have directly facilitated, due to privacy concerns we are unable to comment on specific cases. We focus first on US citizens with immediate family members who are ready to leave and have travel documents. We will then focus more intensively on the subset of US citizens with immediate family members for whom documentation has been a problem, to find ways to help them.”
President Biden has called the disaster in Afghanistan, which resulted in the deaths of 13 US servicemen, an “extraordinary success.”
He claims the government has tried to contact Americans who ended up stranded 19 times to help them leave, saying, “We remain committed to getting them out if they want to come out.”
Traveling from Afghanistan became virtually impossible when Kabul airport came under Taliban control. But Joe Biden has suggested that if Americans are stranded in Afghanistan, it’s because of their own decisions.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the school districts are working with “Congress representatives,” but does not state whether the Biden administration is also helping.
After trumpeting the mission that killed 13 U.S. soldiers as having unfolded as “designed,” Biden blames the Americans left behind in Afghanistan for putting themselves in this position, stressing that it’s likely many of them like it there. find. pic.twitter.com/VtbuZQukcU
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) August 31, 2021
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