Three Southern California families who became stranded in Afghanistan while visiting relatives over the summer have made it safely out of while five others remain stuck as chaos continues to unfold around the nation’s main airport.
Two families departed Afghanistan Thursday, according to Howard Shen, spokesperson for the Cajon Valley Union School District, near San Diego. A third family had also departed and returned to the US on Wednesday, he said.
Shen estimated that five additional families from the school district, consisting of 14 students and eight parents, are still in Afghanistan. The figure marked an increase from Wednesday when Shen believed that a total of six CVUSD families were in Afghanistan, noting that information is fluid and constantly evolving. He said the district is working with California Rep. Darrell Issa’s office, and other national security officials to assist the families with a safe exit.
The departures come as deadly explosions rocked the area outside Kabul’s airport on Thursday as the US and other Western countries raced to complete a massive evacuation of their citizens and Afghan allies following the Taliban takeover of the country.
“We don’t believe any of our students were hurt during the explosion,” Shen told CNN of the bombing near the Kabul Airport.
President Biden on Thursday vowed to continue evacuations despite the terror attack.
The Cajon Valley Union School District, which is home to a very large immigrant and refugee population, mostly from Afghanistan and Iraq, will be offering counseling support to all students in need in the wake of recent events.
“Cajon Valley Union School District Community and Staff wait with open arms for the safe return of all of our families,” Shen said in a statement.
Shen on Wednesday said he believed that six CVUSD families were in Afghanistan, noting that the information is fluid and constantly evolving.