American children are among at least 33 California residents detained in Kabul, a former Navy intelligence officer and advocate for Afghan interpreters told DailyMail.com.
The El Cajon school district, near San Diego, announced on Tuesday that at least 24 students and 16 parents from Afghan families who moved to the US after aiding the military are now stranded in the country’s capital.
Mike Serban, director of family and community involvement for the Cajon Valley school district, said six families from his district were stranded but confirmed that a family of five has returned to California since Wednesday.
About 19 students and 14 parents remain.
Amanda Matti, who served in the Navy for six years, has been deployed to Iraq and now works for charities that help Afghan and Iraqi interpreters, told DailyMail.com that residents of Cajon Valley and other Afghan green card holders will travel to Afghanistan this summer. have flown in to visit their relatives, perhaps for the last time, before US forces withdrew and the Taliban took over.
“This all happened in the middle of the summer holidays, so it was the best time with the highest number of permanent residents in the US.” [Afghanista],’ she said. “They all thought they had until September to get out. Many of them would fly out the week this all exploded.’
At least 60 people, including 10 US troops and several children, were killed in two explosions at Kabul airport on Thursday.
DailyMail.com confirmed that a family with five children from El Cajon, California, has since been able to return to California on Wednesday. About 19 students and 14 parents remain. Depicted are people evacuating Afghanistan
The El Cajon school district near San Diego announced on Tuesday that at least 24 students and 16 parents from Afghan families are now stranded in Kabul.
Matti said she has been in contact with a family of six, including green card parents from El Cajon, who are desperately struggling to get to a gate at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul to show their passports and visas.
Amanda Matti, who served in the Navy for six years and was deployed to Iraq, said some of those incarcerated children are U.S. citizens who were born in the U.S. to their green-card parents in the past five years.
“A lot of the green card families, the parents have green cards and they’ve been here for a few years. They have younger kids who were born here, so those younger kids are citizens of the state,” the Southern California-based Navy veteran told the DailyMail.com .
“I’ve been in touch with a family who tried today and they just messaged me that they didn’t make it.
“They just go back to family or wherever they can that is a little bit safe and sheltered for the time being.
“Only for their safety we try to keep limited contact. It’s just a matter of us trying to pass information to them from the offices of the senators or congressmen and women helping, who are in direct contact with the State Department.
“They try to pass on information like ‘hey now tell them it doesn’t seem like the wait time at such and such gate is so long, let them try this gate, have them take a picture of themselves so we know what they are wearing and someone can identify them.”’
“But there’s so much confusion right now and there’s really no organization.
“They mainly come here to the El Cajon area outside San Diego because there was already a huge Iraqi refugee population here that resettled during the first Gulf War,” she said.
“There was already a ‘Little Baghdad’ area, so they said let’s put Afghans there too.
‘These are real green card holders. Most of them settled here in 2016, 17 and 18. Summertime is a great time, they go back and visit relatives for funerals and weddings.”
Mike Serban, director of family and community involvement for the Cajon Valley school district, said six families from his district were stranded but confirmed that a family of five has since been able to return to California on Wednesday.
Matti served in the United States Navy for six years, including a 2005 deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. At the age of 22, she fell in love with her Iraqi translator, helped him secure his passage to America, and married him. In the picture with her husband and child
Matti said that although Taliban fighters have not yet gone door-to-door looking for Americans and Western allies, the danger and tension in the city is palpable.
‘[The Taliban] doesn’t seem to pick anyone out at the moment, but it seems to be getting worse,” she said.
“As far as we know, at the moment it looks like they’re taking more control of the city and trying to shut down the city. They close streets, close roads and make it harder for people to get to the airport.”
Matti served in the United States Navy for six years, including a 2005 deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
At the age of 22, she fell in love with her Iraqi translator, helped him secure his passage to America, and married him.
Her husband was “an Iraqi student recruited near his neighborhood to translate for US troops during the Iraq war,” Matti said.
The former intelligence analyst wrote about her romance in a novel, A Foreign Affair.
Fairdoon Hashemi and Mohammad Sarfarez, bilingual community liaisons for the Cajon Valley School Board’s Family and Children Engagement program, were first approached on August 16 by a family trapped in Afghanistan.
The family contacted the liaisons “to please keep their place at their local school,” Howard Shen, the school district’s media contact, told DailyMail.com.
Mike Serban confirmed that some of the Southern California children stranded in Kabul are US citizens.
“There are certainly American citizens in that situation who were born here or who became American citizens here,” he said.
Thursday’s blast happened near the Baron Hotel near the airport’s Abbey Gate, where huge crowds had gathered in an attempt to enter the airport.
Injured women arrive for treatment at a hospital on Thursday after two explosions, which left at least five dead and a dozen injured, outside the Kabul airport.
A suicide bomb caused a massive explosion outside Kabul airport with ‘unknown victims’ just hours after warnings of an ‘imminent’ and ‘deadly’ terrorist attack by ISIS
Mike Serban said: “Several of our families have independently decided during the summer holidays to go home to Afghanistan and see their extended family.”
“A lot of the families, their nuclear families are here, but all their grandparents and everyone else are still in Afghanistan,” Serban said, according to CBS8.
“They are still in Afghanistan trying to find their way to the airport or on an airplane.”
A spokesman for U.S. Representative Darrel Issa of California’s 49th congressional district — which includes San Diego County — said the legislature is working to get them home.
Congressman Issa and his staff are working diligently to establish the facts on the ground, any bureaucratic barriers that can be removed and the best ways to help stranded people leave Afghanistan and return home safely. We won’t stop until we have answers and action,” said Jonathan Wilcox, Issa’s communications director.
Cajon Valley School Board President Tamara Otero said: “The biggest concern is that the Taliban have closed the airport.
‘We are so concerned about our students who are stuck there. We’ll do our best to get them out.’