▶’A lot of guys are hurt, angry and confused’; local vets speak on Afghanistan withdrawal

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President Biden is standing by his August 31st withdrawal deadline from Afghanistan, citing growing security risks in Kabul and with less than a week until that deadline the clock is ticking on evacuations.

“I do worry about people that I worked with there,” said Central Oregon Afghanistan Veteran John Parsons. “You wonder if they are still alive or if they are not.”

Parsons was deployed twice with the National Guard in Afghanistan.

He’s also a certified peer support specialist volunteer at Central Oregon Veterans Ranch.

“A lot of guys are hurt, angry and confused and are trying to process all those emotions,” Parsons said.

More than 70,000 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan since August 14th, the day before the Taliban took over Kabul.

“Initially it was kind of a punch to the gut to see things deteriorate so rapidly after everything that we had done and lives committed and lost over there,” said Local Afghanistan Veteran Colton Cross.

Cross was a marine deployed to Afghanistan as a combat engineer.

“A little bit of frustration that you know that things were kind of allowed to unravel so quickly and that our allies were put in harm’s way, perhaps unnecessarily,” Cross added.

The US military is working to get Americans and Afghan allies out before they withdraw.

▶️ Local veteran of Afghanistan conflict ‘disheartened’ by Taliban takeover

“We’ve kind of made promises to them and whatever needs to be done to make sure they are safe and allowed to exercise their end of the bargain, I think we should do whatever we can to honor that commitment to them,” Cross said.

Thursday night the Central Oregon Veterans Ranch will hold a forum for those who served in Afghanistan.

“It will be really great for an opportunity for veterans to get up and talk and have a voice because a lot of times not everyone has a chance to talk about how they are feeling because they don’t have an opportunity to do that,” Parsons said.

The forum starts at 6 p.m.

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