Local Veterans React to Afghanistan Crisis
CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – As a humanitarian disaster unfolds in Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover and sudden withdrawal of U.S troops, many veterans are reflecting on their service in the war torn country and whether history could be repeating itself as Afghanistan falls to a terrorist regime. “It’s going to end up being another Contra situation or just like Vietnam,” says local Army veteran Bill Mapes.
In a sudden move some local military veterans are calling reckless, President Biden removed all U.S. troops from Afghanistan as the Taliban takes over.
“It’s wrong. I mean it’s wrong,” Mapes says. “We go in there and we do what we have to do and did what we were told to do and to have everybody pull out the way their pulling out.”
The sense of unfinished business – while a regime the U.S. fought against for 20 years takes over – is a familiar one.
“My real concern is the veterans that are coming home, having to live with the thoughts of what the Vietnam veterans had to face of we didn’t complete our task, we didn’t complete our mission,” says Scott Mincey, an Army veteran who runs Combat Paddlers, an organization that hosts veterans outdoors to kayak together.
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U.S. troops have been stationed in Afghanistan since immediately following the September 11th terrorist attacks in 2001.
Their presence has largely stabilized a region that has been war torn for decades despite the loss of over two thousand U.S. service members in Afghanistan since 2001.
Veteran suicide to PTSD is a cause many organizations and law makers recognize and seek to prevent but it’s a top concern these local veterans share for their comrades in the light of this recent withdrawal.
“We have soldiers every 22 minutes that have come back and committed suicide because the country is treating them like everything we have done is for naught,” says Mapes.
“Our veterans, our active duty service members, they’re going to be living with the effects of this situation that is happening right now and family members themselves are going to be affected by it,” Mincey says.
In Chattanooga, Andy Santoro News 12 Now.