‘It makes it feel like everything was worthless:’ Local Afghanistan veteran reacts to Taliban takeover

Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 11:25 PM CDT
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - 10 years ago, Army Medic Matt Courter was wounded while serving in Afghanistan. After recovering, he kept serving in Afghanistan and was injured again when shrapnel from a rocket hit him in 2013.

Courter said the images coming out of the country showing the Taliban taking control of Afghanistan are disappointing, especially with how much effort he and others put into training the Afghan military.

”It is kind of disheartening that it is ending the way it is,” Courter said. ”I had actually put time into helping train individuals and seeing them just collapse without putting up a fight, it makes it feel like everything was worthless.”

The veteran added he feels like Afghanistan will go back to how it used to be before the U.S. intervened 20 years ago. That is a thought David Cochran, who teaches politics at Loras College in Dubuque, agrees with.

”It has been pretty clear for the last couple of years that, as the U.S. and other Allied forces withdraw, the Taliban will continue to grow and take back the country they controlled 20 years ago as we intervened,” Cochran said.

Cochran described the U.S.’s longest war as a “failure”, saying that intervening in a country during a civil war tends to lead to nothing except more violence.

”The recent history of Afghanistan should be just another cautionary lesson about trying to solve chronic political problems in parts of the world by invading them,” Cochran said.

Courter agrees, and said he just does not want to see the U.S. making the same mistakes all over again.

”We do not want to have a repeat because we have already been through Korea, Vietnam, now we are here in Afghanistan and we saw kind of the same thing in Iraq,” Courter said. “We do not need to keep doing this and not keep learning from our mistakes.”

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