FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — This summer, the U.S. started to evacuate Afghanistan after more than 20 years. On Monday, President Joe Biden defended his decision to remove U.S. troops.
The decision to withdraw has caused mixed emotions for several Fort Wayne veterans.
Multiple veterans on WANE 15’s Facebook page were upset that the U.S. pulled out of the country so quickly, others were heartbroken over the videos coming out of the country and some are happy to see the war end.
For Army veteran Kris Carroll the news is bitter-sweet.
“We’ve known at some point that it would come to the end,” Carroll said. “It’s been 20 years. It’s America’s longest war. There’s not a veteran I know who wasn’t ready for Afghanistan to be over with.”
Carroll joined the Army in 1998, enlisting in special operations, and was honorably discharged in 2010 as a Chief Warrant Officer. During his time in the Army, he did three tours in Afghanistan. He said economic status and political views aside, the people were his biggest takeaway from his experience.
“People are people,” Carroll said. “So you are building relationships with people, you are getting to know them. You have people who are risking their lives to help you because in their mind you are risking your life to help them.”
Carroll lost a friend and fellow soldier, Calvin Harrison, in Afghanistan in September of 2010. He says that seeing the images coming out of the withdraw is heartbreaking. However, with the way the U.S. left the outcome was predictable.
“Just know that we are just as frustrated as everybody else when we look at this situation,” Carroll said. “We want to provide them stability. We’ve wanted to provide them stability, and I want people to understand that it wasn’t a waste of time. What we did over there was not a waste. Even if it was just providing one person I interacted with a few years of a comfortable life that’s worth it to me.”
Carroll says that it will be up to history to determine how the war and the withdrawal from Afghanistan will be viewed.