Dozens of students enrolled in a school district in San Diego County, California, are reportedly stuck in the Middle East as the U.S. military accelerates plans to evacuate forces from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan by the end of the month.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reports, “At least 24 students from the Cajon Valley Union School District in El Cajon and 16 parents are stranded in Afghanistan after taking a summer trip abroad.” According to the outlet, “Cajon Valley Supt. David Miyashiro told school district board members via text message Tuesday that he and other Cajon Valley staff met virtually with U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Bonsall) and his staff about the situation.”
“Congressman Issa and his staff are working diligently to determine the facts on the ground, any bureaucratic barriers that can be removed, and the best ways to help those stranded leave Afghanistan and return home safely,” a staffer from Issa’s office said in an email to the Union-Tribune. “We won’t stop until we have answers and action.”
An ABC 7 report said the students were currently in Kabul with their parents after visiting extended relatives “on a non-school-sanctioned trip.” When the Taliban took control, some were already en route to the airport.
Jo Alegria, a member of the Cajon Valley School Board, said the district was trying to help expedite the students and their families’ return to America after they could not get to the airport for their scheduled flights.
Multiple families on special visas for U.S. military service reportedly contacted Mike Serban, who heads the Family and Children Engagement (FACE) program, which works with refugee families with children enrolled in the district’s 28 schools. Parents were concerned that students “would lose a seat in the classroom,” according to the Union-Tribune.
“They reached out specifically to us to find out (if we could) hold a spot for them in school,” Serban told ABC. “We said absolutely, it’s the least we can do to ease any of your stress.”
Serban told CBS8 News that the families were “trying to find their way to the airport or on an airplane.”
“We’re working really closely with our federal government officials in reaching out to them, to make connections, to get the two connected so that the federal government knows who’s there and how they can support them to get them back here to the United States,” Serban said.
President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that the U.S. was on pace to withdraw from Afghanistan by August 31, a deadline a Taliban spokesman said would not be extended.
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