Elementary Schoolers Among Hundreds of Americans at Mercy of Taliban

District says 29 US schoolchildren are stranded in Afghanistan

People line up for evacuation from Afghanistan before Aug. 31 / Reuters
• September 1, 2021 2:04 pm


At least 29 American elementary school students remain in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan after the Biden administration's full withdrawal from the country.

The San Juan Unified School District, which serves the suburbs of Sacramento, Calif., confirmed on Tuesday that 29 of its students are still trying to return to the United States after the last American flight from Afghanistan left on Aug. 31. Thirty-two San Juan students were originally stranded in the country, but three have gotten out in recent days.

"We can confirm that we currently have 29 students, from 19 families, in Afghanistan," district director of communications Raj Rai said. "We stand ready to support these students and families in whatever way that we can."

Staffers for Rep. Ami Bera (D.), whose district includes the San Juan school system, said their office is aware of the ongoing crisis and is working to get updates from the Department of State and the Department of Defense on the status of the children.

The departments did not return requests for comment.

The students are only some of the nearly 200 Americans stranded in country left with few means of government assistance. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Tuesday that the United States has no military option following the full withdrawal of forces on Aug. 31. Instead, the Biden administration hopes to use diplomatic and economic channels to bring stranded Americans and Afghan allies to the United States.

House Intelligence Committee member Chris Stewart (R., Utah) on Wednesday slammed the Biden administration for leaving Americans behind.

"American citizens are stranded behind enemy lines, and President Biden has no plan to bring them home," Stewart said. "This evacuation will forever be remembered as a historically shameful time in our nation's history, no matter how much the White House wants to spin it otherwise."

Published under: Afghanistan Crisis, Taliban