'I'm hearing lot of anger': Veterans distraught over deadly attack in Afghanistan

Veterans of the war in Afghanistan say they have mixed emotions about the end of 20 years of war.

News 12 Staff

Aug 27, 2021, 11:18 PM

Updated 969 days ago

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Veterans of the war in Afghanistan say they have mixed emotions about the end of 20 years of war.
They say they are also distraught over Thursday's deadly bombing in Kabul.
"I'm hearing a lot of rage, I'm hearing a lot of anger, a lot of veterans are heartbroken," says Thomas "Will" Sheehan, of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
The day after 13 American servicemembers and over 60 Afghans died from an ISIS suicide attack in Kabul, Sheehan says veterans are searching for meaning from 20 years of war.
"A lot of the men and women who fought in that country are left with a hole inside them, and they need to know that what they did mattered," Sheehan says.
President Joe Biden vowed to track down the perpetrators of the attack, which are not to believed to be the Taliban, but a splinter of ISIS that views the Taliban and America as their enemy.
"America will not be intimidated. Those who carried out the attack, and those who wishes America harm know this: We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay," Biden said Thursday.
But Sheehan, a Naval Academy graduate from Bayonne who served in Iraq, says that will be hard to do -- and harder still to finish an evacuation with just one airport.
Sheehan wrote a newspaper op-ed Friday morning saying U.S. troops should forcibly take back Bagram air base, a former U.S. military airfield north of Kabul that the Biden administration ordered abandoned in July.
"In the realm of diplomacy we only have two things: We have our word and our money. And we spent a lot of treasure in that country, and we lost our word in the last two weeks," Shehaan says.
Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday set up a state task force Friday to assist the thousands of Afghans coming to live temporarily at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in South Jersey.
And though Afghans will be vetted in third party countries and again at the base, five Republicans state senators, including state Sen. Declan O'Scanlon, want the state Department of Homeland Security to ensure the refugees are thoroughly vetted.
Meanwhile, the pullout in Kabul continues with Biden determined to stick to the Taliban-negotiated withdrawal date of Aug. 31.
"I believe that the American public, and well-deserving no longer have the appetite for war in Afghanistan. I believe that we needed to pull out, we just needed to do it in a better way," Sheehan says.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America has more than 425,000 members nationwide.


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