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Afghanistan War veterans processing Taliban take-over

Taliban forces took over Afghanistan’s government Sunday
Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 7:28 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - President Joe Biden stood by his decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan Monday.

Taliban forces took over the government Sunday.

Veterans in mid-Michigan who served in Afghanistan were shocked the Taliban took over so quickly. For many, video from Afghanistan reminds them of how the Vietnam War ended.

“A lot of silence, pauses and trying to process what we are doing,” said Derek Blumke, Afghanistan War veteran.

Blumke helped with the first air strikes shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001.

“We went there originally for the right reasons we felt,” Blumke said, pausing for a moment before continuing. “But again being there in 2003, 2005 wondering to ourselves, ‘What are still doing here?’”

He added, “There’s certainly betrayal involved. I think all of as Americans are responsible.”

Blumke at times struggled to find the words, processing the video of thousands of Afghans trying to escape.

“We pride our selves a lot upon being in the moral right. Whether these failures were deliberate or not, ultimately we’re holding the bag,” said Blumke.

He said one of the hardest things right now is watching how many people are trying to get out of Afghanistan. At least seven people died after falling from an American military jet as it took off.

“They are basically watching all these people who got left behind. They know there is very little hope for them. We have a responsibility to make sure they get out of there alive,” said Blumke.

Blumke said he wants all veterans who served in Afghanistan to know they aren’t the ones who failed. There are several resources available for veterans who are struggling, including the Veteran Crisis Line.

You can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1 or text 838255 to talk to counselors.

Copyright 2021 WILX. All rights reserved.

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