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The Human Side Of The Afghanistan Pullout, From Someone Who Experienced It

By guest author Christine Collier


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I’m usually very good with words, but the past few days have left me pretty speechless, which is why I haven’t specifically commented on what is happening in Afghanistan. I’m going to try to put some words together, so we’ll see how it goes…


Throughout my 17-and-a-half-year career, 18 of those months were spent in Afghanistan over the course of two deployments. I spent six months there in 2007 and a year there from 2013-2014. During those times, I was able to visit the people of Afghanistan – to include girls’ schools, rural villages, and hospitals. I had interpreters to assist me when I went “outside the wire,” and I greatly valued their assistance. I was able to experience the country the culture, and the people.


I made friends in Afghanistan. I had a jeweler, a carpet guy, friends who worked with us on a daily basis. People with families and lives and hopes and dreams. I met the women who were serving in the Afghan military. I heard about their hopes for the future and a stable life. They told me about their willingness to sacrifice for the country they loved, knowing how dangerous it was for them to even be serving.


When I see the images come across the screen from Afghanistan, I don’t just see a country falling apart. I see little girls who will no longer be able to continue their education. I see women whose lives are about to be destroyed. I see American allies who are in imminent danger. I see my friends who are terrified and aren’t sure that they will even make it to tomorrow.


I see humans that are so scared for themselves that they are willing to jump on the outside of a moving plane. And I’m heartbroken. Like deep in my soul horrified and sad. I wish things had gone differently. I wish these people were safe and protected. And I hate feeling helpless for them as I watch from half a world away. I don’t know what to do.


But at least there is one thing I do know… And that’s that I don’t regret the time I spent in Afghanistan. Knowing what I know now, I’m not upset that I went. I’m not regretful of the time I spent there. It wasn’t time lost, but experience gained. 

No, I wouldn’t wish that I never traveled there, but there is something I would change. I would spend just a little more time with the people there. I would hug more of those little girls, and for longer. I would tell those Afghan women to stay strong and that their sacrifices mattered. And I would thank those allies more often, for the missions would have failed without them.


I still have some embers of hope that we will be able to save more people. But I don’t know about that either. So, all I can do is share my stories and let the people of America know what was left behind.”


By guest author Christine Collier


Christine Collier enlisted in the Air Force after graduating college, and became an Air Force Officer where she worked in Public Affairs. Christine was frequently embedded with combat patrols, visiting the towns and villages around not just Bagram Air Base, but often in forward areas as well. 


Photo courtesy of Pavel Dobrovsky at Flickr.

6 thoughts on “The Human Side Of The Afghanistan Pullout, From Someone Who Experienced It”

  1. I was in college when 9-11 happened. One of the professors had us do a paper related to the event. Mine was on the Koran. The one thing that struck me was the Koran allowed lying if it was in the pursuit of advancing Islam.

    It’s hard for me to trust what a follower of Islam says after that. Especially when I hear Muslims say the “evil” ones are interpreting the Koran wrong. Is this an “allowable” lie? I don’t know.

    I realize the same could be said about the Bible….but to this extent?? All the murders and deviant behavior in the name of Islam and Mohammed.

    I hope and pray that all the Afghans who wanted to escape the Taliban are TRULY different from the “evil” ones.

  2. Reply to phergus; Horrible event you refer too. Could you add any detail that would corroborate it. I would share this link but at this stage it could be dismissed as just “someone said something on the internet”

  3. The Human side of it you ask ?. I know a veteran whom did three tours in Iraq , and four in A-stan. One of his A-stan tours was his best and his worst. His unit protected an all girls school. From the first the little kids were all reticent and scared, and fitlhy.Within a couple months and help …Americans supplied pencils , crayons , paper and pen pals stateside. He described how these former pieces of property became human and started to enjoy life like his daughters take for granted. And then orders came down from a presidential level ( Obama of course ) that such use of manpower was to be no longer. They removed their two armored vehicles and their place was taken by ANA troops. In short order the Taliban bombed the school and killed nearly all these little girls. He really is hurt by this as he and his men had to go and clean up this mess…the ANA or ‘local goobermint” was nowhere to be found. He took pictures of the destroyed school , of the lifeless children, most mutilated by the expolosives. It’s a reminder to him of the muslim depravity he encountered way too often in that rockpile. He met some fantastic asgahns wanting to make a difference , and in the past couple days his best interpreter made it out , a little solace for him. But that school haunts him …as a father to two daughters it really effected him…still does sadly. An example is his older daughter did a report for school on afgahnistan ..she used a lot of his experiences . Her teacher gave her a failing grade with a note…untrustworthy references. This sent the vet into a rage. He contacted the teacher and told her stories…and backed them up with pics from his mobile device of those murders..not just that sad school deal. He shut her up , The teacher was horrified at the images…but he pressed home to her…this is the reality there. This is the real human side…the ignorance , the tribal killing by cavemen doing cavemen sh*t !!!. Islam is still in a cave a few centuries behind western civilization…. the very western civ the abhor. I have to question why anyone tolerates women as property , children as property and the sharia insanity that condones murders and mass killings for muslim honor and or law…it’s a sick pathetic belief system of and for cavemen !!!.

  4. Worlds apart – those who served and know the people and politicians who consider the people nothing more than “collateral damage”. Are the Taliban very much more brutal than the politician? Or a president who put them in that position – to fear, to know their lives are shattered never to be the same again. Do our politicians know the level of fear being felt by those betrayed and left behind? I’m pretty sick my self, and I don’t have a connection other than a love of humanity, of which it seem politicians are void.

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