The U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and rapid Taliban takeover of the country’s capitol surprised many people.
Central Oregon Daily News spoke with a local veteran who served in Afghanistan and is discouraged by what he is seeing.
“I just think it’s a little disheartening how they are handling it. I spent two tours over there,” said Brandon Allen, who lives in Bend.
Allen served in Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011 as an enlisted Marine, and went back in 2019 as a contractor.
He spent a total of 15 months helping rebuild the war-torn country.
“You think about all the things we did over there. All the things we tried to accomplish and the things we did accomplish and it’s just a little sad to see how things have turned out,” Allen said.
This is the way it turned out:
The Afghan government has bolted.
The Afghan National Army, trained and supplied by the U.S., choosing not to fight.
Chaos in Kabul and huge crowds fighting for space on airplanes at the Kabul airport.
Allen, who now works as a project coordinator for Central Oregon Veterans Outreach, may know some of them.
He got acquainted with several Afghan locals during his time there, and he wonders what’s become of Afghan National Army soldiers he got to know.
“One of our posts was near theirs so I got to know those guys really well. I still care about them, of course,” Allen said. “They are humans, just like anybody else.”
Allen hopes some of the projects and improvements he helped install are still in place and of value to the locals who remain behind as the Taliban take over Afghanistan.