Afghanistan Controversial Foreign Policy International Military

Veterans Respond to Afghanistan Withdraw

US Veterans have been some of the most effected in our country by the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the actions currently being taken out by the Taliban, Afghanistan’s violent extremist group. Highlighting U.S. Veteran’s response, the message is clear.

“This one will hurt for a long time, man,” Sean Gustafson, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who was deployed in Afghanistan from 2006-2007.

“I’m sad for the people who lost their lives,” said Kimberly Enderle, a helicopter pilot who served in the military for 25 years before heading to Afghanistan as a contractor. “I’m sad for the people that continue to live there, that had had a taste for 20 years what a difference they could experience, perhaps under a democracy similar to ours. Especially the women.”

Image Source: wbur.com // Kimberly Enderle, Helicopter Pilot, served in the Army for 25 years.

“A complete pullout is not only unnecessary, it is sabotage,” said Army Staff Sgt. Seamus Fennessy, who fought in Ghazni province in 2010. he withdrawal, he said, was “a betrayal of American and international forces who have expended so much in life and limb to prevent the resurgence of the Taliban. I am disgusted.” he said.

“Maybe we stayed longer than we should have, but the manner in which we pulled out, it’s just unfortunate, and my heart breaks,” said Christy Barry, who deployed to Afghanistan multiple times

Image Source: Stripes.com

“You pour your heart into it, and at the time, it feels like you’re doing something great and you’re making a difference,” she said. “And looking back on it now, I still feel that way, but it’s with a sadness.”

As reported by Stars and Stripes, The Taliban controls an estimated two-thirds of the country, (as of Friday).

The U.S. invested more than $775 million taxpayer dollars into the Kajaki Dam since 2004 in hopes of bringing electricity to the area. America also hoped that the Dam would gain support for the government, turning people against the Taliban.

In order to secure supply lines for the dam, U.S. troops began the Battle of Sangin. This was the bloodiest of the war, with more than 100 killed in action.

With help from America, the Afghan government was able to install a third turbine generator into the dam back in 2017. This increased electricity supply to the surrounding region.

Image Source: Stripes.com

This, and other infrastructure advances were built with the funding and help of U.S. military. Now these pillars are being destroyed one by one. Veterans can only watch as places they once helped build and protect fall victim to violent extremists.

“It’s sad to see that those pillars are being destroyed one at a time by the Taliban,” Richard Mills, a retired Marine lieutenant general who commanded in the southern province of Helmand from 2009 to 2011. said. “To see it snatched away, of course it’s hard.”

Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Alan Mcalister, who deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 as a squad leader, said he “hadn’t heard from one of his best friends serving in Kabul since early Thursday.”

“We are used to being the ones in combat (while) our family members are back waiting,” Mcalister said. “Now we are getting a taste of what it’s like to sit and wait for information to come in, and it’s a whole different fear.”

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