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Multiple California Students And Parents Still Stranded In Afghanistan

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Kendall Tietz Education Reporter
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  • One California family remains stranded in Afghanistan, while four other families who are still in the county are being processed for return, Fox News reported.
  • Originally, at least 24 students and 16 parents from a school district in El Cajon, California, traveled to the country on a summer trip and were waiting to leave along with thousands of others following Afghanistan’s fall to the Taliban, the LA Times first reported. The students are from different schools within the Cajon Valley Union School District in eastern San Diego County.
  • Issa has helped with the effort to rescue six families, Fox News reported. On Thursday, three of the eight stranded families has been evacuated, according to the Cajon Valley school district.

One California family remains stranded in Afghanistan, while four other families who are still in the county are being processed for return, Fox News reported.

At least 24 students and 16 parents from a school district in El Cajon, California, traveled to the country on a summer trip and were waiting to leave along with thousands of others following Afghanistan’s fall to the Taliban, the LA Times first reported. The students are from different schools within the Cajon Valley Union School District in eastern San Diego County.

The five families who still stuck in Afghanistan as of Thursday, consisted of 14 students and eight parents, Fox News reported. The school district has been working closely with Republican Rep. Darrell Issa to help the families get safely home before the U.S. completely withdraws from the country on Aug. 31.

Issa has helped with the effort to rescue six families, Fox News reported. On Thursday, three of the eight stranded families had been evacuated, according to the Cajon Valley school district.

The superintendent of the Cajon Valley Union School District, David Miyashiro, said the families went to Afghanistan using special visas for U.S. military service, are considered allies by the Department of Defense and that the district has given government officials information to help them locate the stranded American travelers, the LA Times reported.

Cajon Valley Union School District spokesperson Howard Shen told Fox News that the situation is “constantly evolving.”

“One family consisting of two adults, and five children returned back to the US yesterday afternoon,” Shen told Fox News. “Two additional families are confirmed safely out of Afghanistan. There are additional five families with Cajon Valley students remaining (14 students and 8 parents) to the best of our knowledge.”

Mike Serban, is the head of the Family and Children Engagement (FACE) program and works with refugee families in the school district, was the first to find out about the stranded students and parents, the LA Times reported. He said he heard from families that they were worried their kids might lose their spots in school, so he reached out to Miyashiro about their concerns.

“Students and their parents who traveled to Afghanistan this summer to visit their extended family reached out to their community liaisons for assistance when the crisis in Afghanistan started,” the district’s release said.

Students’ parents reached out to FACE program liaisons asking “to hold their children’s spots in their classrooms while they were stranded in Afghanistan,” according to a media release from the school district obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“The Cajon Valley Union School District Family and Community Engagement (FACE) Office that supports a global community of families has been in direct contact with their families and students stranded in Afghanistan,” the release said.

Taliban fighters stand guard along a road near the site of an Ashura procession which is held to mark the death of Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Mohammad, along a road in Herat on August 19, 2021, amid the Taliban's military takeover of Afghanistan. (Photo by AREF KARIMI/AFP via Getty Images)

Taliban fighters stand guard along a road near the site of an Ashura procession which is held to mark the death of Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Mohammad, along a road in Herat on August 19, 2021, amid the Taliban’s military takeover of Afghanistan. (Photo by AREF KARIMI/AFP via Getty Images)

“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,” Issa spokesman Jonathan Wilcox told the the LA Times. “We won’t stop until we have answers and action.”

Cajon Valley School Board member Jo Alegria said the families had plans to be back for the start of the school year on Aug. 17, but were unable to get on their scheduled flights back to the U.S., the LA Times reported. She said the district was helping students and parents get proper documentation to bring them home. (RELATED: FLASHBACK: Biden Predicts Taliban Takeover In Afghanistan Is ‘Not Inevitable)

“The biggest concern is that the Taliban closed the airport,” Cajon Valley School Board President Tamara Otero told the LA Times. “We are so worried about our students that are stuck there. We’ll do the best we can to get them out.”

Serban and Issa did not immediately respond to requests for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation. 

UPDATE Aug. 27: This story has been updated with additional information about the families remaining in Afghanistan.

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