'It's like, OK, it was for nothing': Local veterans, families react as Taliban take Kabul

Posted at 11:14 PM, Aug 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-16 11:12:35-04

As images from the weekend of the Taliban's seizure of Kabul in Afghanistan inundate social media and the news, veterans and family of those who served in the armed forces said it echoes of past wars and brings back difficult memories.

For Robert Woods, the news is particularly painful and close to home.

"I sat there and I think about my nephew, his team members and everything else and all the people who have been killed in that war and it's like, OK, it was for nothing," said Woods. "That's just the way it feels."

His nephew, Brian Woods Jr., was killed while serving in the war in Afghanistan on August 14, 2009 and nearly 12 years after he made the ultimate sacrifice, Woods said seeing the Taliban take over Kabul has been tragic and disheartening.

"We can't keep playing these games with these young men and women's lives," he said.

As a Vietnam veteran himself, Woods said watching the fall of Afghanistan's capital city gave him a touch of deja-vu -- reminding him of the fall of Saigon in Vietnam in 1975.

"You've seen pictures of the devastation of Vietnam at the end there, when people were literally fighting to get on helicopters and just hanging everywhere to try and get a way out," he said.

Dan Vincent, a fellow Vietnam veteran, echoed the sentiment and said the news over the weekend feels very much like a replay of the past.

"I don't know who's responsible for that," he said. "But as you say, the terrorists have taken the country in less than a couple of weeks, including the capital."

As a veteran who's been in a similar position, watching the country he fought a war in fall into disarray, he believes people must empathize with service men and women who are watching things in Afghanistan unfold.

"They did a tremendous job over there for the past 20 years," said Vincent. "Several generations did a hell of a job over the last 20 years. And now, to have it all go down the drain in seven or eight or 10 or 14 days doesn't make any sense. None... I think we should have a whole lot of empathy. These people deserve more than just sympathy. Trust me, they've done a hell of a job and at great risk of it to themselves and to their families."