Biden withdraws from Afghanistan; Veterans dismayed
After nearly 20 years of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, President Joe Biden pulled out the last American troops on Monday, Aug. 30, leaving over 100 Americans and thousands of Afghan-American allies to the leadership of the Taliban.
On Sept. 11, 2001, Muslim terrorists hijacked American flights, crashing them into the Pentagon and the Twin Towers. On Oct. 7 of the same year, American forces ousted the Taliban regime and destroyed the terrorist network base. From then on, America had a large presence in Afghanistan, protecting, and helping rebuild the country after its terrorist rulership.
In his last year of presidency, President Donald Trump signed a peace treaty with the Taliban on February 29, 2020, agreeing to the withdrawal of American troops in return for the promise of peace. This treaty bled into President Biden’s term giving him the crucial decision of how to withdraw.
Ex-Air Force and TKA alumni Gabe Morris served in the middle east, near Afghanistan, for six months and came in direct contact with members of the Taliban.
Nicole Gee, a US Marine Sergeant, was one of the thirteen American military personnel killed in the Taliban suicide bombing. Nicole posted this picture only a few days before her death with the caption, "I love my job."
“The way we pulled out of Afghanistan was one of the single biggest failures we have had in recent military history,” said Morris. “To just completely give up one of the most strategic Air Bases in the area and then scramble to get everyone out is what not to do when keeping security 101. You increase your security, get people out and slowly back fill[. . .] Then destroy, to the point of dust, all military equipment that could be used against innocent people-let alone in terrorist attacks-before you abandon a base.”
Biden made the call on May 1, 2021 to pull out thousands of American troops from Kabul. On the same day, Taliban forces penetrated the Afghan troops on the border, making their way to the capital city, Kabul. In this frantic departure, the U.S. left billions of dollars of U.S. aircraft and weapons at the Bagram Air Force base in the hands of the Taliban. Within three weeks, the Taliban took over all of the country except the one and only Kabul airport.
“I interacted with terrorists a good bit while in Iraq. We got briefed by a three letter agency while in county about the Iraqi troops we would be working with,” said Morris. “They told us that in certain months when the pay is better, the soldiers would work for the Iraqi army and Air Force, but when the pay was worse they would work for ISIS and Kata’ib Hezbollah, both terrorist organizations. One month you’re trading patches with a seemingly nice guy, [and] the next month he’s trying to kill you. . . All for money.”
Most Americans agree that it was time to get out of Afghanistan; however, the way President Biden pulled out the troops is very controversial.
“When it comes to pulling troops out of places like Iraq or Afghanistan, you have to weigh the pros and cons, but, from my experience, it's a love-hate relationship,” said Morris. “Some of the people want you there to provide protection but others--not so much. If we as a country can help and serve others by absolutely annihilating that evil and then handing off a somewhat put together country to leaders who can mold it into a liveable space for its citizens, then I think it's warranted. My question would be: at what point is it worth American lives?”
Alumni Gabe Morris was stationed in Iran for six months. He worked as a 240 gunner and the medic for his unit.