Local veteran talks about Afghanistan withdrawal

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The withdrawal of U.S. Troops from Afghanistan marked the end of the longest war in U.S. history and an Athens woman who spent time in Afghanistan is sharing how she feels about the withdrawal.

Athens resident Maria Taylor went to Afghanistan in 2005. She’s upset with the way the war ended and is worried about the people who couldn’t get out of the country.

Almost 30 years after Maria Taylor’s service during the Vietnam War with the U.S. Army, she jumped at another opportunity to serve her country in 2005.

“I was able to help the soldiers and also I was able to help the people,” says Maria Taylor.

In 2005, Maria Taylor worked as a civilian for the Department of Defense in Afghanistan, helping troops manage damaged equipment. Taylor says she worked with 12 afghan men. She worries about now if they made it out alive.

“It just makes me really sad not to know what’s going on. Are they still there? Are they dead? What about their families? All of them have families,” says Taylor.

Although Taylor’s time in Afghanistan was short, she feels she got an understanding of the people, and helped them hope for a better life with freedom from terrorism and violence.

“We let them know that it’s better, they didn’t know about computers. They didn’t know about anything we have,” says Taylor.

But seeing how the war ended, Taylor feels we should have never sent troops in the first place.

“So now they know it’s better and we just abandoned them. It’s like showing to a child ‘look I have this for you’ and then take it away,” says Taylor.

Taylor feels especially frustrated with the planning of the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“I just hated when I see all our equipment in there. I know hate is a strong word but I just dislike to see all our army men’s rifles, even the gloves, and the uniforms. And I just can’t believe they left everything there,” says Taylor.

Taylor says she hopes Americans will be charitable to Afghan immigrants who come to the United States. She says we should educate ourselves about the afghan culture and live with love for people that may be different than us because they are just people looking for new opportunities and a better life.

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