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At least 24 teenagers from Cajon Valley Union School District in California along with 16 parents are stranded in Afghanistan after taking a summer trip abroad.
“We have a long summer break, and nobody knew the extent of what was going to happen, nobody knew what was coming,” district spokesman Mike Serban told the San Diego Union Tribune. “Their extended family is in Afghanistan, and they wanted to see their family. They went back, likely before the troops left, so they could say hello or goodbye one more time. What wouldn’t you do to go see your family one more time, let alone know you have only a window of time to go see them?”
They are among thousands of individuals waiting to leave the country amid political unrest caused by the U.S. military pullout after 20 years of occupation, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The Union Tribune reports the 24 missing students attend different schools in the district and they didn’t want to offer any other details, such as their names or the provinces they visited, because it might put the families in danger.
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Cajon Valley Supt. David Miyashiro told school district board members via text message Tuesday that he and other Cajon Valley staff met virtually with U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Bonsall) and his staff about the situation.
Miyashiro said that the families are on special visas for U.S. military service and that the Department of Defense considers them allies. He said that the district was able to provide information on the families and that government officials are working to locate the children and their families. He said he was encouraged by the assistance.
“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,” the spokesperson told the newspaper. “We won’t stop until we have answers and action.”
Who in their right mind who take a bunch of American teenagers to a war-torn, terrorist-infested country like Afghanistan?