(The Center Square) – Rep. Darrell Issa, whose district includes constituents still in Afghanistan, estimates that at least 500 Americans are still in the country.
When including their family members, the number could be as high as 1,000, the California Republican estimates.
“Unless we continue and get the rest of our American citizens, and all those otherwise eligible out, we won’t have done our job,” Issa told The Associated Press.
Rep. Don Bacon, R-Nebraska, says the number coming from the State Department doesn’t include families. He told the Associated Press, “the problem is, it doesn’t include families. They’re lowballing the numbers.”
The State Department has not confirmed a total. Last week, Secretary Antony Blinken said the number was close to 100. President Joe Biden said last week the number was between 100 and 200.
White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said it was around 100 in an interview with CNN on Sept. 5. He said the White House is “continuing to work on efforts to get them out by air as well.”
Among those still in Afghanistan include 32 California students, according to two California school districts near Sacramento and San Diego.
Of them, 29 are enrolled in the San Juan Unified School District system near Sacramento; three attend school in the Cajon Valley Union School District outside of San Diego.
Sixteen parents and 24 students left San Diego earlier this summer to visit family members and were in Kabul when the Taliban took control. Officials from their school district in Cajon Valley said there was one family with three students among them. A spokesperson told Fox News, “we are exploring strategies to rescue and bring them home.”
Of the other students, SJUSD told Newsweek, “We stand ready to support these students and families in whatever way that we can, and are working closely with state elected officials to provide them information as we receive it from our families. San Juan Unified stands with our Afghan community and all those whose loved ones are currently in Afghanistan. We sincerely hope for their speedy and safe return back to the U.S. and back to our school communities.”
Biden said last week that his administration had sent 19 messages to Americans in Afghanistan since March, urging them to leave the country.
Issa’s office has been working to help get Californians out of Afghanistan. Of the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, he said, “The President armed the Taliban, applauded their work, promised them aid, abandoned Americans in their arms. And then he declared success.”
KUSI News also tweeted, “President Joe Biden left a San Diego family and three students stranded in Afghanistan. The students are from the Cajon Valley School District in El Cajon.”
Issa added, “While we have successfully helped dozens of stranded San Diegans, our work continues in order to bring the remaining families home.”
He also criticized fellow Californian, Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who blocked House Republicans from reading the names of the 13 service members killed in Afghanistan on the House floor. Four were Californians, the most from any state.