One of two California families who were stuck in Afghanistan just hours ahead of the final U.S. flight out of Kabul has reached safety, the Cajon Valley Union School District confirmed Tuesday afternoon.
There had been eight families from the district in total in Afghanistan as the U.S. evacuation kicked into gear over the past two weeks. On Monday, just two remained unaccounted for.
“There are a total of seven adults and fourteen children that are safe in their homes in El Cajon,” the district announced Tuesday. “Students returned to school this week to the open arms of their teachers and classmates. Two families are in the United States and flying home. One family is safely out of Afghanistan and on their way back to the United States.”
Earlier in the day, there were reports that two of the eight El Cajon families may still have been trapped in Afghanistan after the final American plane left Kabul Monday.
“One family with three students was left behind in Afghanistan, and we are exploring strategies to rescue and bring them home,” the district said. “The safe return of our Cajon Valley family and raising awareness of the more than 20,000 ‘invisible Americans’ according to our Family and Community Liaisons is our focus now.”
Cajon Valley spokesperson Howard Shen had told Fox News earlier Tuesday that the district was “exploring alternative strategies” to get the last two families out because “the airlift is no longer an avenue.”
The district thanked Rep. Darrell Issa’s office for help bringing home the families, which had students who attended the district.
El Cajon has a large refugee population, and the families had gone to Afghanistan in May and early June, weeks before the crisis unfolded. They were not part of an organized trip and traveled separately.
Issa’s is among congressional offices from around the country that have been involved in helping their constituents and groups of Afghan allies reach safety by helping them get in touch with State and Defense Department officials as well as NGOs on the ground.
Thirteen U.S. service members and dozens of Afghan civilians were killed in a suicide bombing at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport last week.
The final U.S. plane left the airport Monday, and the last American soldier to step on board was Maj. Gen. Chris Donahue, commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division, which deployed roughly two weeks ago to help secure their airport and oversee the evacuation effort as Taliban fighters swept across the country.
Fox News’ Audrey Conklin contributed to this report.