Will Kabul debacle be Joe Biden's downfall? Vets ask POTUS why their friends had to die
President Joe Biden is being slammed online for following through with a Trump Administration signed pledge to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan, amid the Taliban taking over city after city there. Frustrated veterans of the Afghan war have been expressing their anger over Biden's decision to pull out of the war that has been on for 20 years now. Speaking to the Washington Post, vets are asking the POTUS why their friends had to sacrifice their lives in the first place.
The decision to withdraw troops was made back during the Trump Administration. Some 2,300 American soldiers have died in Afghanistan, which Daily Mail reports is the most out of the four dozen nations who had deployed troops there, along with Afghanistan to combat the Taliban. Outraged veterans are questioning the government's decision to abandon Afghanistan amidst such turbulence as well.
US Army veteran and Chicago native Tom Amenta, 40, told the Washington Post that headlines of Taliban's takeover of Kandahar and Herat and the Afghan government continuing to crumble in the wake of the US' pull out, has made him livid. As an upcoming book documenting his sit-down with several veterans grace the stands next month, Amenta recalled his friend Jay Blessing's death from an improvised bomb in 2003. "I mean, why did my friend get blown up? For what?," Amenta asked, continuing: "[Afghanistan] has never had a clean solution. But now that it's gotten hard, we're just going to bounce? It doesn't make it right."
Along with Blessing, Amenta has also lost NFL star Patrick Tillman to the war. And as President Biden's August 31 deadline to bring all troops home draws closer, Amenta claims news of Taliban's war crimes against civilians and Afghan troops has left him horrified. Currently controlling half of Afghanistan's 34 provincial capitals, the Taliban's next aim is conquering Kabul, where the US embassy is based. "It's just frustrating," army veteran John Whalen, 34, of Arizona, told the Washington Post. "We knew that this would happen. Now, all the people who went and served, are like, 'Why did my friend die?' I ask that question, too," Whalen said.
Two of Whalen's friends had died in Kandahar in 2010 — thus making the Taliban's recent takeover hit that much harder. One of these friends was 21 when he died. "He was so motivated. He was just so excited to go out and live his life. But he got killed. And he didn't get to live his life," Whalen said of the friend identified as Andrew Minari. The war vet also feels that the US withdrawal has broken an unspoken promise the nation had with Afghan population. "I’ve felt that there was this idea behind America. That America would make the world a better place,” he said. “But there are kids in Afghanistan that have only seen war during their lives."
The Taliban's recent take over has been just south of the Afghanistan capital, with a war on Mazar-e-Sharif, a major highly defended city. The Taliban has also captured all of Logar province, which is just south of the capital, with all its local officials detained, Hoda Ahmadi, a politician from the province told the publication. With the Taliban having reportedly reached the Char Asyab district, just seven miles south of Kabul, western embassies are being evacuated amidst a soaring humanitarian emergency. Around 3,000 American troops are headed to evacuate the American embassy, as documents, computers and sensitive data are being prepared to be destroyed.
A former diplomat who's in touch with the embassy staff claimed: "It's normal procedure to destroy anything sensitive before getting out, but it suggests that things are much further along than the State Department is saying." A management memo sent to staff asked them to destroy all items that could be useful to the Taliban. Obtained by CNN, this document reads: "Please also include items with embassy or agency logos, American flags, or items which could be misused in propaganda efforts." Biden's move, however, is being compared to the humiliating Saigon embassy evacuation from 1975, with the allies voicing outrage against the US government's handling of withdrawal.