LA Times: California students still stuck in Afghanistan, you know

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

You’d never know it from national media coverage, but at least the Los Angeles Times reports on Americans abandoned in Afghanistan. To be more precise, staff writer Justin Ray digs into the status of dozens of California students in his morning newsletter today. That does have a link on the paper’s home page on the website, but the LAT didn’t even make that their most featured story on Afghanistan today.

Ray does a good job digging into the issue, however:

San Diego County students who had been unable to flee first made headlines. Then, it was discovered that Sacramento-area students were in the same predicament. The last U.S. planes departed around midnight Aug. 30, though not every American citizen was able to make it aboard.

Although the San Diego students’ situation was the most discussed, there appear to be more students from around Sacramento still in Afghanistan. …

There are dozens of Sacramento-area families still in the country, according to the San Juan Unified School District. Recently, three families — including seven students — made it back to the U.S. But about 38 students are still there.

That’s 38 children abandoned by Joe Biden in his rush to the exits in Afghanistan. It’s also 38 children that the national media keep ignoring, Ray being one of the limited exceptions to that trend. Ray contacted Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who has been very vocal about his efforts to get abandoned Americans out of Afghanistan, and whom other media outlets are studiously ignoring as well:

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Bonsall) — who has been very critical of the Biden administration on social media — has aided in coordinating evacuations. His spokesperson Jonathan Wilcox gave The Times a statement about a parent and four students from the Cajon Valley Union School District who remain in Afghanistan:

“We are tracking one remaining El Cajon family unit, and it includes El Cajon schoolchildren. We’ve provided their names, documents and other detailed information to the State Department on numerous occasions [emphasis his] — as well as discussed them with [the State Department] repeatedly. Congressman Issa and his team continue to press official channels including State, DOD, DHS, and the White House on a daily basis.”

Issa’s not the only one asking. The press corps at the State Department has kept the pressure on Foggy Bottom to account for the Americans abandoned by Biden in Afghanistan nearly every day, and the State Department keeps refusing to account for them with any specificity. On Monday, ABC’s Conor Finnegan took his turn trying to squeeze Ned Price, to no avail:

QUESTION: Sorry about that. The Qataris said yesterday that another charter flight had taken off with American citizens on board. Can you confirm whether or not that’s the case? If so, how many were on board and how many in total have now gotten out? And how many U.S. remain behind? Thanks.

MR PRICE: Thanks, Conor. So we continue to fulfill our pledge to U.S. citizens, to lawful permanent residents, and to Afghans to whom we have a special commitment. As you heard us say, we’ll be relentless in helping them depart Afghanistan if and when they choose to do so. Since late last month, we have assisted 105 U.S. citizens and 95 lawful permanent residents to depart.

Now, these are numbers of people whose individual departures we directly facilitated. An additional number of U.S. citizens and LPRs have departed on private charters or have independently crossed via land border, and they are not included in those tallies. There have been private charters that have departed in recent days, but we’re just not in a position to detail those from here.

Jim Geraghty notes another strange point made by Price in the same briefing:

“We are continuing to process SIV applications at every stage of the SIV process, including by transferring cases to other U.S. embassies and consulates around the world where applicants are able to appear. We know, of course, that it is currently extremely difficult for Afghans to obtain a visa to a third country or to find a way to enter a third country, but we are developing processing alternatives so that we can continue to deliver these important consular services for the people of Afghanistan.”

Yes, the State Department’s position remains that those who wish to leave Afghanistan should make an appointment with a U.S. Embassy outside of Afghanistan. But they’re still “developing processing alternatives.”

It’s been six weeks since Biden left behind thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of our Afghan allies to the Taliban. And the White House is still only at the stage of “developing processing alternatives”?

Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) told Newsmax yesterday that Biden’s demonstration of cowardice has our allies recalculating their relationships with the US. Mullin accused the State Depart of being MIA in the exfiltration process, and worse, One American ambassador, whom Mullin won’t name, deliberately interfered with private exfil efforts to the point of blocking the exit of two elderly Americans:

If this is true, it should be a national news story. But then again, if it became a national news story, so would the disgrace of Joe Biden’s abandonment of these Americans in the first place.

Update: AJ Kaufman excoriates the Biden administration over this ongoing disgrace — and the media as well:

The Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan was not just “chaotic”; it was the worst example of government ineptitude in generations. The president will never live it down, especially because the surrender was completely unnecessary and led to hundreds, if not thousands, of dead civilians in a short period of time.

The drive-by media quickly moved on by Labor Day, but some organizations still have correspondents in the country or region.

Be sure to read it all.