Nine-year-old Nada and her 15-year-old sister, Sabrina, and their mother traveled to Afghanistan in July to be with their father in his final days living with terminal cancer.
The two girls, students at Encina High and Dyer-Kelly Elementary in Arden Arcade, were with him when he died July 27.
Two weeks after the Taliban takeover, the girls’ 21-year-old sister in Sacramento is struggling to bring them and their mother home.
“This morning they were crying,” their sister Behshta said in an interview Friday. “They want to go back to school.”
Imagine being in this position. You’re a young child and all you want to do is go back to school but you’re stuck in one of the most violent places on earth.
The mother and girls have been staying at a family member’s home in Kabul, unable to get to the airport and safely back to Sacramento.
“I am worried, and they need help,” Behshta said.
Home to more than 1,400 students who are Afghan refugees, San Juan Unified School District school district officials know there are Sacramento-area kids stranded in Afghanistan. The district pulled attendance records and identified about 150 students who might be affected by the turmoil — an almost certain overcount that might also include students who simply transferred to another district.
“We are trying to determine why these students haven’t been at school,” Raj Rai, a spokeswoman with the district, wrote this week. “Anecdotally we have heard that some may be in Afghanistan, but we do not have a concrete number at this point.”
California Rep. Darrell Issa has worked hard to get the children from the Ell Cajon School district back. Seven parents and children traveled to Afghanistan this summer because they though it might be the last time they could see their families.
Issa has helped rescue six families in total. The two families rescued on Thursday consist of seven people, including three adults and four children. The Cajon Valley school district on Thursday said that three of eight families in the school district who were stranded in the country had been safely evacuated.
The first four families the congressman’s office helped leave consisted of seven adults and 16 children.
The exact number of Cajon Valley school district children who were rescued remains unknown, but Issa’s office believes “most of the 20 total children” it has rescued “are enrolled in school within the Cajon Valley Union School District.”
The school district on Thursday said “one family consisting of two adults and five children returned back” to the U.S. on Wednesday afternoon. Two additional families were confirmed “safely out of Afghanistan” on Thursday.
“There are additional five families with Cajon Valley students remaining (14 students and 8 parents) to the best of our knowledge,” school district spokesperson Howard Shen told Fox News in a Thursday statement.
They are believed to be stranded in Afghanistan.