Seven San Diego-area families that had been stranded in Afghanistan amid the Taliban takeover have now been evacuated, with one family still stuck in the country, according to officials from the local California school district.
The Associated Press first reported Monday that six families from the Cajon Valley Union School District had safely made it out. Superintendent David Miyashiro confirmed to The Hill Wednesday that the total number increased to seven.
The superintendent said that according to the school district's Family and Community Liaisons department, four families "have safely returned to Cajon Valley," with two additional families in the U.S. en route to the San Diego area.
He added that another family had been evacuated from Afghanistan and was on its way back to the U.S.
Miyashiro said that students who were able to return to school this week were greeted with "the open arms of their teachers and classmates."
The superintendent said one family with three students still remains in Afghanistan following President BidenJoe BidenDearborn office of Rep. Debbie Dingell vandalized Pfizer to apply for COVID-19 booster approval for 16- and 17-year-olds: report Coronavirus variant raises fresh concerns for economy MORE's announcement Monday that the U.S. military had completed its withdrawal from the country.
Miyashiro told The Hill that officials were "exploring strategies to rescue and bring them home."
Miyashiro told local Fox affiliate station KSWB that the family included an eighth grade student from the area.
“He said it was chaos,” Miyashiro said of the student. “You could see it in his eyes, anxiety and fear.”
“We’re hopeful because we know where they are,” added the superintendent, who is working with Rep. Darrell IssaDarrell Edward IssaProposed California maps put incumbents in jeopardy Bipartisan lawmakers target judges' stock trading with new bill How lawmakers aided the Afghan evacuation MORE (R-Calif.) to help secure the release of the remaining family.
“We have intel based on our family community engagement officers, so we know where they are, we know how to get to them and there are still means to do that,” Miyashiro told the local news outlet. “It’s just much more complicated now.”
The Los Angeles Times reported last week that more than 20 students and 16 parents from the school district had traveled to Afghanistan on summer vacation before they became among the thousands of Americans the U.S. was working to evacuate following the Taliban’s consolidation of power.
The Biden administration officially ended its weeks of U.S. military evacuation flights from Afghanistan on Monday, though White House National Security Adviser Jake SullivanJake SullivanBiden administration resists tougher Russia sanctions in Congress GOP holds on Biden nominees set back gains for women in top positions NATO head warns Russia against Ukrainian incursion MORE told CNN Tuesday that options still remain for the estimated 100 to 200 Americans who remain in the country, as well as Afghan allies who qualify for Special Immigrant Visas.
“We’re working closely with other countries to get charter air flights going in the short term,” Sullivan said, adding that the administration was also “working with neighboring countries to be able to accept American citizens or legal permanent residents traveling by ground across borders to get them processed and then get them safely out of the country.”
Updated at 12:10 p.m.