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Several California Public School Students Are Still Trapped In Afghanistan

A U.S. Air Force air crew prepares to load evacuees aboard a C-17 aircraft at Hamid Karzai International Airport in  Kabul on Aug. 31. Several public school students from Sacramento, Calif., remain in Afghanistan after the U.S. evacuation ended.
Senior Airman Taylor Crul
/
U.S. Air Force via AP
A U.S. Air Force air crew prepares to load evacuees aboard a C-17 aircraft at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Aug. 31. Several public school students from Sacramento, Calif., remain in Afghanistan after the U.S. evacuation ended.

Updated September 1, 2021 at 3:14 PM ET

The U.S. ended its massive evacuations out of Kabul, Afghanistan, by President Biden's Aug. 31 deadline, but as many as 27 California public school students remain in Afghanistan.

The students, whose grades range from elementary to high school, are from 19 families from the San Juan Unified School District in Sacramento. Most of the students, the school district says, have family members with them.

The Sacramento area is home to one of the United States' largest Afghan American communities. How these students will be able to return to the U.S. in a now Taliban-controlled Afghanistan is unclear.

"These numbers continue to change rapidly. We believe that some of these families may be in transit out of Afghanistan, as we have not been able to reach many of them in the last few days," Raj Rai, the school district's director of communications, told NPR in a statement.

"We stand ready to support these students and families in whatever way that we can," Rai said, adding that the district has been working with state officials and congressional offices.

One of the congressional offices is that of Rep. Ami Bera, a Democrat who represents the district. Bera's office told NPR it had been in contact with the school district and has "urgently flagged" the situation with the State Department and the Department of Defense.

"We are pushing the DoD and State Department for an update," Travis Horne, Bera's communications director, said in an email to NPR.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Deepa Shivaram
Deepa Shivaram is a multi-platform political reporter on NPR's Washington Desk.
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