Dozens of Afghan children have been evacuated to the United States without their parents.
Almost 40 unaccompanied Afghan children are now safe and in U.S. government custody after being evacuated from Afghanistan.
The children arrived at the Kabul airport without a parent or legal guardian and were immediately referred to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) refugee office upon arriving in the United States, according to a U.S. official.
Of 34 Afghan children taken into U.S. government custody as of Thursday, 24 remain after some were quickly placed with close family members. The children in custody are housed in U.S.-government shelters experienced with caring for Afghan children, said the official, who refused to disclose the exact location for safety reasons.
The unaccompanied children are part of a growing number of refugees airlifted out of Afghanistan in what President Joe Biden’s administration says is one of the biggest airlifts in history. The United States has airlifted about 105,000 people out of the country since Aug. 14- that figure includes U.S. citizens, Afghans and foreign nationals.
The unaccompanied children being placed in U.S. government custody do not have parents in the United States and, in some cases, the parents are deceased, the official said.
“If their parents aren’t here now but will be, we need a place for them to go in the interim and then they will be united when their parents get here,” the official said.
The children make up a fraction of the nearly 15,000 unaccompanied children in the care of the HHS refugee office, most of whom come from Central America and arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border.
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