US takes in dozens of unaccompanied children from Afghanistan

More than 30 Afghan children who came to the Kabul airport unaccompanied were taken into U.S. custody, Reuters reported, citing several U.S. officials.

The U.S. had taken in 34 unaccompanied children, though an official told Reuters that family members later received four children. CBS News and Reuters reported that some children had been placed in government shelters.

“We are working to ensure that Unaccompanied Afghan Minors who are referred to the Office of Refugee and Resettlement (ORR) for processing, unification, or placement are placed with licensed care providers that are able to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services,” a Health and Human Services spokesperson told The Hill in a statement.

“We will continue to work with our government partners to provide care for all of the children referred to us,” the spokesperson added, noting that the children did not make up “a significant share of Afghan arrivals.”

Until children are provided a sponsor in the U.S., the department legally has custody over the unaccompanied children, the outlet noted.

The development is an added layer to a rapidly evolving security situation in Afghanistan as many Afghans, in addition to Americans and others, are trying to flee the country ahead of Tuesday’s deadline.

Many are concerned that the Taliban will again resort to violence despite promises they have made recently that they will not go after enemies and will protect the rights of women under Islamic law.

Harrowing footage from earlier this month showed Afghans clinging to a U.S. military plane as it was about to depart the country as those close to the airport in Kabul tried to find a way out of the country quickly.

Despite a deadly explosion at the airport on Thursday, which claimed the lives of 13 U.S. service members and scores of Afghans, the White House reported that 12,500 people had been able to evacuate the country between early Thursday and early Friday. Since Aug. 14, 105,000 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan. 

—Updated at 6:43 p.m.

Tags Afghanistan evacuations HHS unaccompanied children

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