An elderly American couple are returning to San Diego after weeks of being harassed and intimidated by the Taliban when trying to get to the Kabul airport in Afghanistan, U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, a San Diego Republican, said in a statement on Wednesday.
“This is a cause for celebration and the result of almost countless hours of work under very difficult conditions,” Issa said in the statement posted to his website. “Our team simply would not give up, and today it paid off and we got them home. While we have made extraordinary progress, but we’re not stopping until everyone comes home.”
The names of the couple, both in their 80s, were being withheld because of safety concerns since they still have family in Afghanistan, according to his office.
Issa’s office began helping the couple logistically after their granddaughter, Zuhal, contacted his office to tell him they had been repeatedly stopped by the Taliban at airport checkpoints for weeks. Her last name was also withheld for safety reasons.
His office didn’t detail how the couple got out of the country.
The couple is among 33 San Diegans Issa has helped get out of the country since the U.S. withdrew forces and the Taliban took over the country, the statement said.
Issa also helped six families from San Diego’s El Cajon neighborhood who had traveled to the country in the spring to visit relatives escape.
One family who has students enrolled in the Cajon Valley Union School District remains stuck in Afghanistan. El Cajon, east of San Diego, has a large refugee population.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Congress this week that about 100 U.S. citizens remain in the country and want to leave. Rescue groups and lawmakers believe the number could be higher.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
San Diego couple trapped in Afghanistan returning to US after weeks of Taliban harassment, Darrell Issa says