Local veterans react to Biden’s plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan

Published: Apr. 17, 2021 at 6:16 PM CDT
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FORT HOOD, Texas (KWTX) - The Biden administration is ordering all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by September 11 and many veterans with their families in the Central Texas community are split because of how much has already been sacrificed.

“This will always be somewhat of a personal issue because we’ve always shed blood, we’ve sacrificed,” said Army Veteran Jeffrey Yarvis.

Yarvi served more than 20 years in the Army with multiple deployments to Afghanistan and other parts of the Middle East. When he heard the news, he says he agreed with the decision, but understands why others don’t.

“Families have supported us and sacrificed for us,” he said.

“Our communities have watched us leave and lost resources and then help us reintegrate. Everyone’s involved in a place like Central Texas where there’s such a large military presence.”

Texas A&M Central Texas Political Science Professor John Koehler says many veterans in Central Texas have mixed reactions. He believes the decision to leave is just as split and controversial as leaving Vietnam.

“I understand those that argue that we’re putting our time, resources, personnel and our loved ones over there and so they feel fatigued; especially if they’ve been deployed multiple times,” he said.

“Then you have those that recognize the efforts we’ve put forth already and wouldn’t want to see that as having been done in vain. The fact of the matter is, there really is no telling how this will turn out.”

Moving forward, Yarvis says he’s not sure if there will ever be a time that soldiers and veterans will be satisfied with a decision to leave a war they fought without a decisive victory. However, he thinks all veterans should be proud of their fight in the war on terror.

“I don’t know if there’s a one size fits all for all veterans,” he said.

“I do think we can take satisfaction that we did accomplish many of our nation’s objectives there.”

After decades of national security meetings focused on Afghanistan, the Biden Administration’s foreign policy moving forward will focus in Asia, particularly with Russia and China.

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