Up to 27 California public school students remain trapped in Afghanistan

The San Juan Unified School District told local press on Wednesday that some 27 students are currently stranded in the Taliban-run country, and were unable to leave amid President Joe Biden’s disastrous pullout of U.S. forces.

Up to 27 California public school students remain trapped in Afghanistan
AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu
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Up to 27 Californian children remain trapped in Afghanistan following Biden’s withdrawal of U.S. forces from the country. 

The San Juan Unified School District told local press on Wednesday that some 27 students are currently stranded in the Taliban-run country, and were unable to leave amid President Joe Biden’s disastrous pullout of U.S. forces and the ending of flights out of the country. 

The district said that the students come from 19 families and that the number of students still trapped is changing due to the fluidity of the situation, noting that some of them could potentially already be in transit out of the country through unofficial channels.

"We believe that some of these families may be in transit out of Afghanistan, as we have not been able to reach many of them in the last few days," said Raj Rai, director of communications for the district in an email to USA Today. The paper reports that many of the students and their families were in Afghanistan for personal reasons, such as visiting relatives on a summer break.

The reports suggest that the number is revised from the previously reported number of approximately 150 children from the area who were thought to have been stranded in Afghanistan. 

Sacramento is home to one of the largest Afghan populations in the United States, according to the Institute for Immigration Research at George Mason University.

According to the Sacramento Bee, a number of refugees that were recently evacuated from Afghanistan will likely be resettled in Sacramento. 

A number of refugees will likely be resettled in Sacramento. The Sacramento region has long been one of the largest destinations for special visa holders. One out of every nine Afghan natives living in the U.S. resides in the Sacramento region. About 9,700 Afghan people live in Sacramento County, more than any other county in the U.S., according to census data. Another 2,000 live in Yolo, Sutter, Placer or El Dorado counties.

The stranding of the more than two dozen students comes amid a report in the Wall Street Journal stating that the vast majority of Afghan interpreters and others who applied for visas to flee Afghanistan remain trapped in the country, putting them “at risk of Taliban retribution.” 

“The U.S. still doesn’t have reliable data on who was evacuated, nor for what type of visas they may qualify, the official said, but initial assessments suggested most visa applicants didn’t make it through the crush at the airport,” the paper reported

The Biden administration has bragged repeatedly about evacuating some 120,000 people, including roughly 6,000 civilians. Around 20,000 Afghans applied for Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) by May, and that number is increased when their families are included.

“But only about 8,500 Afghans appear to have made it out on evacuation flights that began in July, according to estimates from nongovernmental organizations and advocates and the figures released so far by the Biden administration,” NBC News reported. “The Pentagon indicated last week that nearly 7,000 Afghans had been evacuated to bases in the U.S. And on Monday, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command, said that about 1,500 Afghans had been airlifted out in the final stage of the evacuation before the last troops departed.”

Just as well, one of the Afghans that the Biden administration abandoned in Afghanistan was the man who helped to rescue then-Senator Joe Biden in 2008, when his helicopter was forced to land in dangerous territory due to severe weather. 

“Hello Mr. President: Save me and my family,” said the man, named Mohammed, in the Wall Street Journal. “Don’t forget me here.”

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  • By Ezra Levant

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