EXCLUSIVE: 3-year-old California boy stranded in Afghanistan

ByDan Noyes KGO logo
Tuesday, August 31, 2021
EXCLUSIVE: 3-year-old California boy stranded in Afghanistan
A young boy who was born near Sacramento is one of the American citizens still trapped in Afghanistan.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan has stranded between 100 and 200 American citizens who want to return to the states. One of them - a young boy born near Sacramento. I-Team reporter Dan Noyes has an exclusive, frightening story about what lies ahead for the child and his family.

This three-year-old boy was born near Sacramento; his passport shows he is a US citizen, and he's going through a harrowing ordeal right now, unable to escape Afghanistan. We're hiding his identity and that of his father, a social worker, and other family members who are all US permanent residents, for fear of them being captured by the Taliban.

James Brown, Veterans Advocate, told the I-Team, "I received a call Sunday morning at about 6 a.m. from a friend of mine who's an active duty Marine Corps officer stationed overseas, and he basically felt like his hands were tied and he needed some help getting this family out."

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James Brown is a veterans advocate who's been working since Sunday morning to get the family safe passage through the Kabul airport to the states. He contacted Representative Jackie Speier and her staff, who jumped into action.

"They've also made numerous phone calls to the White House, to the Secretary of Defense's Office, and to the Secretary of State's office escalating this family's case all the way to the top for us."

Speier wrote a letter To Whom It May Concern, "I believe it is of particular and urgent concern that these individuals be allowed to pass through the gate and be given safe refuge at Hamid Karzai International Airport ... so that they might be available for departure."

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Armed with that letter, the boy, his father and several other family members approached the airport, but the Taliban attacked.

Brown said, "And they were stopped by a Taliban checkpoint, and they received physical beatings at the gate and they were pushed back where they had to flee and return to a safe house."

The I-Team spent Monday funneling questions through our ABC News colleagues in Washington to officials at the White House and State Department.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the US Embassy in Kabul will remain closed and the diplomats will be moved to Doha, Qatar, adding, "We will continue our relentless efforts to help Americans, foreign nationals, and Afghans leave Afghanistan if they choose."

So, movement on this on many fronts, including Congresswoman Jackie Speier and her staff. We've scheduled an interview with her for Tuesday and will keep you up to date on the latest information.

Late Monday, the I-Team learned the boy and family are on the move, after linking with other Americans who are desperate to flee Afghanistan -- without the normal channels of the US government, in the chaos that we left behind.