President Joe Biden’s decision to stick to the self-imposed August 31 deadline for removing all U.S. military forces from Afghanistan left an unknown number of Americans stranded somewhere in the country now controlled by the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and ISIS-K. On Wednesday, the Washington Free Beacon reported that at least 29 school students from California were included in those left behind.
The students are from the suburbs of Sacramento and attend school in the San Juan Unified School District. There were 32 children in the group, but three escaped before the departure of the last U.S. military plane from the Kabul airport.
The school district’s director of communications Raj Rai confirmed that the 29 students come from 19 families. He added that “the district stands ready to support the students and their families in whatever way it can.”
Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA) represents the area that includes the San Juan district. Her office confirmed that they are aware of the student’s situation, and they are attempting to get updates on their status from the State Department and the Department of Defense. The Free Beacon reported that it did not receive responses from either department to requests for comment.
Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, harshly criticized the administration on Wednesday. He noted that while American citizens are “stranded behind enemy lines,” the president “has no plan” to help them come home. Stewart added that the botched evacuation would be remembered forever as a “historically shameful” time in American history.
The California students are part of as many as 200 Americans in Afghanistan who want to leave but receive little government assistance. The U.S. military has no options available to help the students, according to Pentagon spokesman John Kirby. The White House seems to be left only with diplomatic measures or economic incentives to help the stranded Americans get home.