Local Afghanistan war veterans react to U.S. departure: ‘I’m just dismayed by how we’ve walked out’

Local News

CENTRAL VALLEY, California. (KGPE) – Images out of Afghanistan show citizens desperate to escape the country, as U.S. troops leave in droves, and the Taliban takes over.

For Lorenzo Rios, the images bring back memories from his year of service in 2009. Even though more than a decade has passed, he says he can’t believe the United State’s departure.

“I’m just dismayed by how we’ve walked out. It’s hard to believe that that’s really what this turned out to be. There’s a lot of Afghan leaders and locals who risked their lives to work with us,” Rios said.

Joe Bernal served in Afghanistan in 2013 as a first sergeant. He says he’s worried for the Afghan citizens and officials that he built relationships with, describing them as regular people who just want freedom.

“It’s one of those things…you don’t like to think about, because you don’t know what happens to them when they leave,” Bernal said.

Both Bernal and Rios say though the U.S. is withdrawing, they choose to remember the heroism of U.S. soldiers who ensured two decades of freedom in the war-torn country.

 “We won individual battles. In this case, we lost the war. The foxhole, the tactical, soldiers who were on the ground – they did phenomenal work. It’s really unfortunate to see it play out the way it did, but for twenty years, we had security in our country,” Rios said.

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