WINFIELD, Ala. (WIAT) — The family of late Alabama military officer Johnny Micheal “Mike” Spann, America’s first casualty of the war in Afghanistan, spoke with CBS 42 about their response to recent events in the country’s city of Kabul
On Monday, videos of Afghans frantically rushing the tarmac of the Kabul airport as an American jet left the country went viral, depicting the desperation of some to exit the country. Subsequently, criticism against the U.S.’s decision to remove troops is mounting as reports of retaliation against Afghan citizens who helped the U.S. surface. Spann’s father, Johnny, shared his own thoughts with CBS 42.
“It makes me sick to my stomach to think about that these folks that befriended Mike and befriended other military and CIA and other Americans, because they were helping each other, and just to think that we’re leaving them, and they’re going to die,” Johnny said.
Regardless, Johnny wants to reassure troops and those involved with the effort that there is honor in the sacrifices made during the conflict despite the outcome.
“What I can say to them is, ‘Y’all didn’t lose.’ Your government surrendered. Y’all did your job. We rooted out Al Queda; we rooted out the Taliban, but bad decisions were made by people in high places,” he explained.
When Mike Spann died in 2001, he was only 32 years old, and while he was the first American to lose their life in the conflict, almost 2,500 American service member also lost their lives. Thousands of others were also wounded.
After the Talbian takeover, Spann worries about the impact on the country and the region.
“I’ve never said we should be in Afghanistan for 20 years fighting a war, but there’s nothing wrong with us being in Afghanistan like we are in Korea, South Korea, Europe other places,” Spann said.
Spann said he has disagreed with other decisions over the last few years, but questioned President Biden’s recent choices.
“He pulled all of our seniors out, all of our generals, everybody off and just left them by themselves, they did not know what to do, so you had the Afghan army just turning over all these cities to the Taliban. Was the intelligence that bad? I just don’t understand,” Spann said.