MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — As America’s war in Afghanistan comes to an end, military veterans across Alabama are reflecting on the 20-year conflict, as well as the increasingly politicized situation that the U.S. exit out of the country has become.
Retired Alabama Air National Guard Colonel Scott Grant served several tours in Afghanistan as the Commander of the 117th Air Refueling Wing and said that despite the controversy over how troops left the country, there have been victories.
“We have not been attacked on our soil by Al Qaeda, the Taliban or ISIS in the past 20 years,” Grant said. “That’s because we took the fight to their front step and not fighting it on our front step for sure.”
However, Grant did acknowledge that trying to turn a nation like Afghanistan into a democracy was always an uphill battle.
“Their culture and their value are not at all similar to what you and I experience day to day, up and down the streets of the United States. And sometimes I don’t think we appreciate that,” he said.
The most criticism has been against the way the U.S. left Afghanistan as well as the loss of American lives in a recent suicide bombing.
“Even though our military is not there we will be sending people back for years to try and help people and try and get people out,” Sen. Tommy Tuberville said. “And we will see how that goes, but this was a total debacle of how this was handled from the president on down to the generals.”
Getting America’s Afghan allies out is something Grant agreed should be a continued priority.
“So, we have a great amount of responsibility to take care of our allies because could not of accomplished some of the most critical task we were able to carry out without their assistance,” he said.
Grant also noted that very soon, a large number of men and women will be retiring from the military after a 20-year career, a career that knew nothing else but war in Afghanistan.