Over the last two decades, more than 750,000 American service members have been deployed to Afghanistan. Amid theas the U.S. pulls out, many are wondering if their sacrifices were wasted.
"I'm on the verge of breaking down crying because this is just like we gave so much and just like that it's wiped out," said Juan Dominguez, who was a Marine lance corporal when he was sent to the Taliban heartland of Helmand Province in 2010.
It was there that his battalion lost 25 men. Dominguez, who lost both legs and an arm, said his thoughts are with the Afghans who helped the Marines and are now at the mercy of the Taliban.
"We have seemingly turned our backs on them and just pray, pray for them because our government didn't help them get that safe passage out," he said.
Retired Army Colonel Dave Brostrom lost his son, Jonathan, at the Battle of Wanat in 2008.
"It's a disgrace to this country to depart like this," Brostrom said. "This is very disheartening."
"You know, my son died trying to protect his fellow soldiers, but for the ultimate cause of stabilizing the country and establishing a good government, yes, it was a sacrifice that was for naught," he said when asked if it felt like his son died for nothing.
Over the past 20 years, more than 2,400 U.S. service members were killed and 22,000 wounded in the war.
Amid criticism of the U.S. withdrawal and its implementation, President Bidenhis decision on Monday. He acknowledged that the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan "did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated," but said he would not ask more U.S. service members to risk their lives in a conflict that "should have ended long ago."
"I know my decision will be criticized. But I would rather take all that criticism than pass this decision on to another president of the United States," he said. "How many more generations of America's daughters and sons would you have me send to fight Afghanistan's civil war when Afghan troops would not? How many more American lives is it worth?"
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