FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — As the military continues evacuations in Afghanistan, the August 31 deadline for U.S. withdrawal is coming quickly. One Afghanistan War veteran says he is not surprised by how the situation has developed over the past few days.
Not only is Army veteran Kris Carroll not surprised by Thursday’s attacks near the airport, he believes the situation is likely to keep deteriorating the closer we get to that end-of-month deadline.
Carroll did three tours with the Army in Afghanistan working for special operations intelligence before he was honorably discharged in 2010. He said news of the deaths of 13 service members was gutwrenching to hear.
At the same time… the turn of events has not exactly surprised him, but he called it a preventable situation made worse by optics being prioritized over security.
“I feel that this current administration wanted was more concerned about optics than security,” Carroll said. “When I say that I don’t place the blame entirely on this administration. I think that the Afghan situation is the culmination of a failure of four different presidents but at the end of the day, the President, the current president, is the one that’s making the calls and, and giving the orders for what we’re seeing unfold in front of us.”
He believes that a lack of strength and lack of leadership shown has emboldened terrorist groups like the Taliban, ISIS-K and al-Qaida.
The State Department said in a Friday press briefing that there are an estimated 500 Americans who still want out of Afghanistan and “several hundred” who are unsure if they want to leave the country. Carroll said veterans with boots on the ground in Afghanistan are likely frustrated that they are unable to do so more for the Americans and allies still wanting to leave. His biggest concern is what lies in store for those people once the deadline passes and evacuations are unable to continue.
“There are Americans, American allies all over Afghanistan, that have no way to even get to Kabul right now,” Carroll said. “In the past, we’ve seen the videos of what they do to people and what they’re capable of, and just the atrocities that they can create. And I pray that we can come to a solution that it doesn’t come to that, but my fear is that, that would be the worst-case scenario, is that we’re going to have American hostages, we’re going to have American prisoners; American allies are going to be executed, which has actually already begun. So that’s my fear is that it will just continue and more people are going to die.”
He said as difficult as the situation is for veterans to watch, actively serving military members are likely feeling that even more so. The best thing to do for veterans or active servicemembers struggling with the situation in Afghanistan is to listen.
“We have to listen to each other, [be] there for each other and, and at the end of the day, understand that the servicemen and women are detached from anything political, they’re there to help. They want to do their jobs,” Carroll said. “They want to pull everybody that they can out of there, and just give them your full support.”