Afghanistan: reaction of veterans and refugees to collapse after 20 years of war – 22/08/2021 – world

US President Joe Biden has acknowledged that the recent Taliban offensive in Afghanistan may be “distressing” for many Americans with a deep connection to that country.

To find out how some of these people got the latest news about the extremist group’s expansion, the BBC report spent a day with veteran American soldiers who served in Afghanistan and also with Afghans now living in the United States. United.

Despite the heavy rains, dozens of people gathered on Monday (8/16) outside a post office in Hookstown, Pa., To honor Sergeant Dylan Elchin – born in that town and who died after being shot. by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. The agency bears his name.

“It’s wonderful to see Dylan honored,” said Ron Bogolea, grandfather of the 25-year-old soldier who died in 2018.

“He sacrificed everything for our country and I think we should all honor our military more – for what they do not only for the United States, but for the whole world,” he said.

The decision to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan and the subsequent Taliban offensive to seize power in the country did not go unnoticed during the Hookstown event.

“The events of the past few days have shown that we are not always successful, we are certainly not perfect, but that our hearts are in the right place,” US Congressman Conor Lamb said at the ceremony.

But Christian Easley, an Air Force recruiter who helped train Elchin, told the report that, for him, the current circumstances in Afghanistan have not changed his perspective at all.

“Dylan had to follow orders to complete his mission. He did everything he was asked to do and more,” said Easley.

“No matter what happened last week, I know Dylan did everything right.”

For some, however, the present moment requires deep thought.

Captain Jeremy Caskey, responsible for conducting the ceremony in Hookstown, also served in Afghanistan. His brother, Navy Sergeant Joseph Caskey, was killed in action there in 2010.

Asked about new developments in Afghanistan, he took a moment to put his thoughts together.

“It’s been very difficult. You always want to know if what you’re doing has purpose and meaning, but purpose and meaning doesn’t just come with winning. I think sometimes it comes with sacrifice and lived experience. “, reflects Caskey.

“Are we better? Is the country better? Are they (the Afghans) better? It’s hard to say.

A few miles from the White House, Fawzia Etemadi and her cousin, Hamid Naweed, watched President Biden’s speech in heavy silence.

“We trust Joe Biden, but we’re a little disappointed – the world is disappointed,” said Fawzia, who said Biden should keep his promise to bring peace to his country.

“The Afghans have suffered for the past 40 years.

Like thousands of Afghans living in northern Virginia, Fawzia and Hamid fled Afghanistan as refugees in the 1980s and ended up settling within miles of the US capital. This region is home to one of the largest Afghan diasporas in the country.

Over tea at the family restaurant, Afghan Bistro, Fawzia and Hamid report that they have spent much of the past week in anguish.

“We couldn’t sleep, we were worried about our loved ones at home,” said Hamid, a former professor at Kabul University in the Afghan capital.

Seeing so many people trying to flee their homeland, “running away from their hopes”, was also difficult.

“I don’t know how the Taliban came to power so quickly,” Hamid continued, “but I hope the world recognizes that the Afghan people need freedom and independence, and that we deserve to live in peace. “.

Contribution to the Xinyan Yu report

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