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Sacramento school district confirms 24 students are still stranded in Afghanistan

Sacramento International Airport (xelipe/Flickr)

At least 24 Sacramento-area students are confirmed to be stranded in Afghanistan as turmoil continues in Kabul, according to school officials.

San Juan Unified school district staff said 24 students, down from from the initial estimate of 150 students, had not returned to campuses since the start of the 2021-2022 school year.

After reading The Sacramento Bee’s story about two students stranded overseas, Sacramento Congressman Ami Bera’s office contacted San Juan Unified and is working with the district to bring students back safely.

Bera’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It’s unclear when more Sacramento-area residents will board flights to return from Kabul. It’s been more than two weeks since Taliban leaders took control of country’s capital.

Evacuation flights ferried tens of thousands of people from Kabul before and after a bombing at the airport killed more than 170 people, including 13 service members. Marine Sgt Nicole Gee of Roseville was among US military service members killed.

A number of refugees will likely be resettled in Sacramento. The Sacramento region has long been one of the largest destinations for special visa holders. One out of every nine Afghan natives living in the U.S. resides in the Sacramento region. About 9,700 Afghan people live in Sacramento County, more than any other county in the U.S., according to census data. Another 2,000 live in Yolo, Sutter, Placer or El Dorado counties.

For weeks, people fleeing Afghanistan have been landing at Sacramento International Airport, a family or two at a time.

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