Updated 8/23/21 Afghanistan Withdrawal – Writings and Appearances

My favorite activity…Outside the FOB near the village of Nawa

8/30/21 UPDATE:

I was invited by NBC 7s Allie Raffa to try to pay tribute to the fallen service members at Kabul’s airport. It is inadequate, but here are my words:

https://www.nbcsandiego.com/videos/afghanistan-war-veteran-reacts-to-kabul-attack/2704943/

Also, the Times of San Diego published a piece where I try to capture some of the mixed swirl of emotions many veterans of the Afghanistan war are feeling:

https://timesofsandiego.com/opinion/2021/08/18/america-tried-to-do-good-in-afghanistan-now-we-must-help-those-left-behind/

8/23/21 UPDATE:

NBC 7’s Priya Sridhar hosted me and another veteran of the Afghanistan war (himself born in Afghanistan) for a conversation on her show Politically Speaking:

https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/politics/politically-speaking/politically-speaking-afghan-war-veterans-react-to-troop-withdrawal/2698525/

8/18/21 UPDATE:

The rapid fall of Afghanistan came as a shock to many. Those who predicted that the Afghan government and military could not stand on its own were proved stunningly correct. Civilians and military members who served in Afghanistan were left to struggle with questions. What did it all mean? Was it worth it?

In my first attempt to begin processing the developments, I wrote this for the Times of San Diego:

https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/san-diegans-react-to-president-bidens-timeline-for-troop-withdrawal-from-afghanistan/2576037/

And was grateful to be featured with other veterans on local TV stations:

KPBS: https://youtu.be/pS1z47JtN8s?list=PL2BEE055A0FBFA666&t=247

10News San Diego: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwPnrdBkZeA

I believe those of us who were there have a duty to tell our stories.

Lastly, on Medium, I reflect on my dashed hopes for the Afghan government and military and my first guesses about what went wrong. Find it here:

https://jamesseddonauthor.medium.com/catastrophe-in-afghanistan-70025a5646b4?sk=e519ecf0119a6246f8952422da2bbe6e

FIRST POST:

Like many Afghanistan veterans, my feelings on developments there are many and complicated as Biden first announced a complete withdrawal of troops and then later an acceleration of that withdrawal.I first wrote that the withdrawal did not mean that the Taliban had won:

https://medium.com/p/the-taliban-have-not-won-811931e31001

And appeared on NBC San Diego to briefly discuss it:

https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/san-diegans-react-to-president-bidens-timeline-for-troop-withdrawal-from-afghanistan/2576037/

Since then, the Taliban have made worrisome gains, and I worry that the Afghan government might fall without critical American support. The last time the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, they hosted terrorists who attacked the American homeland on 9/11.

I got the opportunity to go back on NBC San Diego with some brief thoughts:

https://www.nbcsandiego.com/videos/local-veterans-reflect-on-afghanistan-withdraw/2651391/

Only time will tell. If the Afghan forces and government hold it together, we will have truly won the war in Afghanistan. If they don’t, it will prove our withdrawal was unwise and could be a disaster for the United States, not to mention the Afghan people, who deserve better than Taliban rule.

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