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As America prepares to leave Afghanistan, take a look at what the US sacrificed there

Veterans reflect on the end of America's longest war
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Posted at 2:13 PM, Jul 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-09 14:23:30-04

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Joe Biden isn't changing his mind. On Thursday, he promised to have all American troops out of Afghanistan by August 31.

Earlier this year, Biden said he wanted it done by September 11.

"We did not go to Afghanistan to nation-build," Biden said Thursday.

AMERICA'S SACRIFICE

Afghanistan is the longest war in American history, lasting nearly 20 years.

In that time, 2,448 Americans have died in Afghanistan, according to the president. Another 20,722 Americans have been wounded.

The United Nations estimates at least 35,000 Afghan civilians were killed from 2001 to 2019.

American taxpayers have paid at least $825 billion for operations and recent expenses have totaled around $3 billion/month.

VETERAN REACTION

As the United States finishes its operation, many veterans are reacting and have mixed feelings, mainly because the Taliban is continuing to regain regions of the country.

As a reminder, the U.S. entered Afghanistan because the Taliban was cooperating with Al Qaeda, the terrorist organization behind the September 11 attacks.

Toyia Tucker is an Air Force veteran who lives in Columbus, Georgia. Tucker worries about what will happen to women's rights in the country. The Taliban previously banned high-heel shoes and even reading.

"The Taliban right now is terrorizing those citizens. No, I don't think it will get better for women," said Tucker, an Air Force veteran whose mother and ex-husband served on the ground in Afghanistan.

Robert Couture is a veteran who retired as a Master Sergeant.

"It’s a concern, I remember being in Afghanistan and seeing little girls that were sick in the village and I wasn’t allowed to pick up and hug them, and that always stays with me," Couture said.

Both veterans, however, recognize why Biden has decided to bring the war to a conclusion.

"You have mixed feelings, 20 years is a long time," Tucker said.

"Afghanistan is a sovereign nation," Couture said.