Local veterans respond to removal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan

“I’m happy that we’re pulling out," Fahlman said, "I’m thankful that hopefully we’re not going to lose any more good folks and people of our nation.”

Posted: Apr 15, 2021 6:33 PM
Updated: Apr 16, 2021 8:45 AM

LANE COUNTY, Ore. -- President Joe Biden announced the timeline for the removal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan soil Wednesday.

Garrett Smith served as a small arms technician for the U.S. Marine Corps during his stint in Afghanistan. He said the mission was to guide and protect the local nationals. He said he believes they completed their mission. 

"Going out on patrol sometimes you get rocks thrown at you, but it was mostly people waving by their farms saying hello to the military," Smith said. "Like, 'Thank you for like being here because if you're here, most of the time we feel more safe.'"

He also said as a result, he doesn't think they are leaving the area in a state where the locals will be able to support themselves moving forward. 

RELATED: BIDEN: TROOPS WILL LEAVE AFGHANISTAN BY SEPTEMBER 11

"It's gonna hit the fan for the citizens of Afghanistan," Smith said.

Conversely, he said the only other alternative would be to have a permanent U.S. placement there, which he doesn't believe would be a good idea.

Trevor Fahlman served on behalf of the Oregon National Guard as a gunner and a member of a personal security team. His opinion on the matter slightly differed from Smith's. However, they both said the move was long overdue.

“I’m happy that we’re pulling out," Fahlman said, "I’m thankful that hopefully we’re not going to lose any more good folks and people of our nation.”

And Falhman was much more optimistic regarding the conditions the locals will be left in. 

"I believe that the Afghanistan people are strong enough and they have the will to fight for themselves and support themselves, especially after the support that we've given," Fahlman said. 

Both agreed on the idea that it's time for the United States to focus on the issues plaguing its people.

"I think it's time for us to take a step back from other nations and focus on internal affairs so we can focus on each other as a nation and hopefully try to mend some of the wounds," Fahlman said.

The projected date for complete removal is the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and Biden said regardless of what happens between now and then, they will go on as planned. 

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