BOISE, Idaho — As the United States military continues to leave Afghanistan after nearly two decades of war, the Taliban has taken control of the country and the nation’s capital of Kabul.
It’s just the latest development in a 20-year war. Thousands of miles across the globe, the current state of Afghanistan weighs on the minds of some Marine Corps veterans in Boise.
“It’s total chaos,” Retired Sergeant Major William ‘Bill’ Heyob said. “You know, they're great people. Just seeing the expressions in the little kids' faces as you're giving them food or toys or a coloring book. And you hope they're going to have a better future than what's going to happen now.”
Heyob spent 24 years in the Marine Corps. He served a tour in Afghanistan between October 2009 and May 2010.
“You knew we couldn't stay there forever. But you were hoping that when we did leave the Afghan Army and Afghan Police would be able to defend their country,” Heyob said.
Heyob is proud of his efforts in Afghanistan, and he's upset with the images today of Afghan citizens flooding to the airport – hanging off airplanes – as the United States leaves the area.
For Retired Marine Sergeant Major Shay Henry, who spent 25 years in the Marine Corps, he told KTVB that he expected this to happen.
“We can't always be there to bail every single country out,” Henry said. “And that’s one thing I didn’t have a good feeling about. Whenever we pull out of there would they be able to hold the gains that we made? I didn’t have a really good feeling that they’d be able to do that.”
Both Henry and Heyob agreed that the United States couldn’t stay in Afghanistan forever, but they do wish a stable Afghan government was in place with the proper infrastructure to succeed. Without it, they see the efforts of good men and women lost with little payoff.
“After seeing what's happening now, you wonder whether the fruits of the labor was good,” Heyob said.
As it currently stands, the country of Afghanistan is slated to be under Taliban rule. After what Heyob and Henry witnessed during their time in Afghanistan, they’re concerned for the sake of the Afghan people.
“Well, the Taliban, they don't want women doing anything. I know they have some ladies in Congress. Who knows what's going to happen to them?” Henry asked.
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