December 1, 2021, 3:37

US Veterans Share With Sputnik Melange of Emotions as America Exits Afghanistan

US Veterans Share With Sputnik Melange of Emotions as America Exits Afghanistan

WASHINGTON, (Sputnik), Barrington M. Salmon – US veteran Tom Porter said he’s kept a close eye on the war and related activities in Afghanistan since he returned from deployment and became an official in the 425,000-strong Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA).

Porter told Sputnik he had just learned of the departure of the last C-17 warplane from the Kabul airport after over two weeks of scurried evacuations following the stunning collapse of the Afghan government and the swift takeover of the country by Taliban forces culminating with the capture of Kabul on August 15.

Pentagon officials said during a press conference today that the US had flown out more than 122,000 people. And US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said during an address to the nation tonight that “under 200 and likely closer to 100 Americans are still in Afghanistan and want to leave.”

REUTERS / US MARINESU.S. Army soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division check evacuees during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, August 25, 2021.

Porter lamented the fatalities suffered during the final phase of the pullout and commended the non-governmental efforts by organizations to evacuate as many people as possible.

Lawrence “Larry” Sewer, a US Virgin Islands native who enlisted in the US Army when he was 19 and retired as a sergeant, told Sputnik that the gravity of the pullout from Afghanistan must not distract from other fronts, such as the havoc wrought on the US mainland by Hurricane Ida. The Category 4 hurricane devastated many parts of Louisiana and Mississippi with fierce winds and flash flooding that destroyed homes and businesses, left 1.1 million residents without electricity.

Frank J. Phillips, a retired US Army major who served for 21 years, said he purposely divorced himself from the news. Although he hadn’t been following all the ins-and-outs of the 20-year war in Afghanistan, news that the last warplanes and US military personnel had departed left him pleased.

The last of the US forces departed Afghanistan in the early hours of August 31, 2021, after 7,268 of warfare in the country. The cost of America’s lengthiest conflict: 2,448 US service personnel and 3,846 US military contractors killed – including 13 Marines killed last week in suicide bomb attacks near the airport – and a $2.4 trillion price tag.


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