SWOK Veteran speaks on crisis in Afghanistan

SWOK Veteran speaks on crisis in Afghanistan
Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 6:16 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - As things continue to unfold in Afghanistan with the U.S. military pulling out, local veterans are sharing what they think about the situation.

MacArthur High School graduate and Retired U.S. Air Force Tech Sergeant Brian Lehew said he has a lot of mixed emotions about the entire situation.

Lehew said President Biden’s speech last night caused a lot of frustration when Biden said the main mission was to get the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11, and to deliver justice to Osama Bin Laden.

He said if that’s true what has the U.S. been doing in Afghanistan for the last decade.

That’s just one of his many concerns.

“I think the hardest part about knowing that the Taliban has taken back control of every major province and city there. It’s just knowing for that the last 20-years, you had little girls going to schools and being educated past the age of eight years old. Where now, 20-years later I saw the first female pilot in Afghanistan. I seen a female mayor,” Lehew said.

He said women will likely be forced to go back to living under the same oppression they did before the U.S. arrived in 2001.

Lehew is also upset about the Taliban getting their hands on equipment the U.S. decided to leave behind when leaving the country.

“In late 2011, 2012 I was a part of the crew moving the old armor from the Iraq drawdown to Afghanistan. So, to see the amount of armor, weapons, and ammunition that we left it’s just staggering. The thing that really got me was watching a video of one of their convoys driving with a few of those helicopters that I found out later was flown by the ANA who just switched sides or for whatever reasons,” Lehew said.

That bothered Lehew because he’s lost friends while trying to teach people in Afghanistan how to fly and take care of themselves.

He said seeing their people rush to the airport in hopes of getting away before the Taliban completely takes over speaks volumes.

“That should be a very clear image, vivid image that should stick with a lot of people because that just goes to show how terrified an entire population is of the Taliban coming back into power,” Lehew said.

Lehew doesn’t think the U.S will be stepping in and helping out after how all of this unraveled.

“Personally, I wouldn’t trust a foreign power coming in after the way they just left us. I can see us having to go back over there to possibly stifle any threats emerging from that country, but I don’t ever see us being back over there in the capacity with the way things have been for the last 20-years,” Lehew said.

Lehew said he is worried about service members who served in Afghanistan seeing everything that is happening.

He said if any of them are struggling they should reach out to family or friends, or contact experts at the National Suicide Hotline.

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