Almost two months after the Taliban seized control of the nation of Afghanistan, dozens of American students and their relatives remain stuck in the nation that is now controlled by enemy forces, and with no more American military forces remaining, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The majority of the students are from the Sacramento area of California. The Times’ Justin Ray says that his investigations have led him to believe that there are still “dozens” of families still trapped in Afghanistan, with 38 students among them. The students are all from the San Juan Unified School District.
Although a handful of Americans managed to escape the country in recent weeks – three families and approximately seven students, according to Ray – the overwhelming majority have been unable to successfully leave the country since the Taliban took over the Hamid Karzai International Airport in the capital city of Kabul.
School district officials have said that they are continuing to work closely with the federal government to try to secure the return of all remaining American citizens. San Juan’s Director of Communications Raj Rai said that they “continue to remain hopeful of their safe return soon.”
Sacramento City Unified Superintendent Jorge Aguilar said that the district is “closely working with our congressional representatives, and appreciates their tireless efforts to help these students and their families. We remain hopeful that our students will soon be able to safely leave Afghanistan, come home to the U.S. and return to school in Sacramento.”
In San Diego, the students who are still in Afghanistan are from the Cajon Valley Union School District. The school district is represented in the House of Representatives by Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who has been extremely outspoken in his criticism of the Biden Administration’s handling of the ordeal. Issa’s spokesman, Jonathan Wilcox, said that there are five Americans from the district – one parent and four students – left behind in Afghanistan.
“We are tracking one remaining El Cajon family unit, and it includes El Cajon schoolchildren. We’ve provided their names, documents and other detailed information to the State Department on numerous occasions, as well as discussed them repeatedly. Congressman Issa and his team continue to press official channels including State, DOD, DHS, and the White House on a daily basis.”
The ongoing crisis stems from Biden’s hasty plans to withdraw all American forces from Afghanistan in order to take credit for ending the longest war in American history, which started in 2001. Although President Donald Trump had previously negotiated a peaceful resolution to the war with the Afghan government and Taliban leadership in February of 2020, Biden unilaterally altered several conditions of the deal, including extending the planned withdrawal date from May 1st, 2021, to September 11th, and then back to August 31st.
As a result, the Taliban began making unprecedented incursions across the country, taking numerous provincial capitals and other strongholds before taking over the capital of Kabul on August 15th, over two weeks before the planned American withdrawal date. In those chaotic final days, hundreds of thousands of terrified Afghan civilians attempted to escape the country with the American forces, leading to numerous deaths at the Hamid Karzai airport; the images and videos quickly spread around the world, leading to the entire evacuation widely being considered a chaotic failure.
Although numerous unvetted Afghanis were ultimately taken out of the country by the American forces, hundreds of American citizens were left behind, even as Biden falsely claimed that his administration had successfully evacuated all Americans.