LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – As the Taliban takes control in Afghanistan, veterans who served there are sharing their emotions watching it happen.
From people clinging to planes trying to escape their home country, to the Taliban flooding the streets of Kabul just days after the U.S. withdraws troops from Afghanistan the videos are tough to watch for veterans like Taylor Lobue.
“It’s a mixture of emotions really. My friends and I have lost a lot of friends there and a lot of friends were injured and wounded. It’s kind of sad to see all of that get handed right back over to the Taliban,” Lobue said.
He served in Afghanistan from 2005 to 2006 and participated in search and rescue missions to training the Afghan army.
“I really feel for the Afghan people. There’s really good people there,” Lobue said.
From heartbreak to frustration, Lobue said he feels his brothers and sisters did all they could.
“I’m glad we’re finally getting out of there. We’ve been there for 20 years. Way too long. I think it’s really going to take the will of the people there to stand up and overcome the Taliban there,” Lobue said.
From those who served to those who lost, veteran Will Stevens created an underwater memorial for Seal Team Six member Adam Brown who was killed in Afghanistan in 2010.
“In the last moments of his time here on this earth he was wounded and died from injuries that he received trying to protect his teammates,” Steven said.
Many of those men now have their name right next to Brown’s.
“All of the servicemembers that we honor at that memorial have been in the military since 9/11 and died in the Afghanistan campaigns,” Stevens said.
While Stevens said it’s not the ending they hoped for, their sacrifice will always be remembered.
“I don’t think takes anything away from their legacy they’re still heroes and they died doing a job that they loved doing,” Stevens said.
Lobue is also the Vice President of We Are The 22, a non-profit that helps with veteran suicide.
He said many of his fellow veterans who fought in Afghanistan are feeling the same mix of emotions. He encourages anyone struggling to reach out. The We Are The 22 hotline is 1-855-932-7384.