On August 15, 2021 — right after Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani left the country — the Taliban took over the city of Kabul. The militant group continues to sweep through the rest of Afghanistan, establishing rule over the country after 20 years.
Here’s a quick timeline of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan (sorted by U.S. Presidents) to catch you up.
Here’s a more comprehensive historical timeline to learn more context about the U.S. presence in Afghanistan.
During a briefing at the White House on July 8, 2021, President Biden expounded on the status of the planned drawdown of U.S. forces and allied forces in Afghanistan. One person in attendance asked about any repercussions from the planned August 31 exit:
Q Mr. President, will the United States be responsible for the loss of Afghan civilian lives that could happen after a —
THE PRESIDENT: No.
Q — military exit?
THE PRESIDENT: It’s up to the people of Afghanistan to decide on what government they want, not us to impose the government on them. No country has ever been able to do that …. [N]ever has Afghanistan been a united country, not in all of its history…
Q Mr. President, if this isn’t a “mission accomplished” moment, what is it, in your view?
THE PRESIDENT: No, there’s no “mission accomplished.”July 8, 2021, from whitehouse.gov
The sudden and swift takeover has rocketed the chaotic drawdown to next-level intensity — for Afghan citizens, for the evacuating U.S. Embassy, for U.S. troops aiding departure… and for veterans who are struggling with mixed feelings as they watch everything unfold from afar.
Images of people clinging to departing airplane wings, women being victimized, and the Afghan army’s defenselessness are causing a lot of trauma to resurface for veterans who served in Afghanistan any time during the last 20 years.
What are local resources for a struggling veteran?
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The first and most important resource for someone who is struggling intensely with resurfaced trauma and suicidal thoughts. Call the lifeline at 800-273-8255.
Cohen Veterans Network. A mental health care telehealth option that specifically serves post-9/11 veterans and family members of such veterans or current service members. They offer online face-to-face personalized therapy for PTSD, anger, anxiety, depression, sleep problems and more. Learn more: 833-CVN-VETS, or cohenveteransnetwork.org/telehealth.
Military & Veterans Peer Counseling. A peer-to-peer PTSD counseling group comprised solely of veterans helping to heal the wounds of fellow veterans’ experiences and inner turmoil. It’s hosted by Lakepointe Church in Rockwall (room W300) every Thursday at 6:30 pm. Call Bradley Tiegs for more information: (214) 460-8234.
701 Interstate 30, Rockwall, TX 75032
Veterans Center of North Texas. A local information, referral and crisis intervention center in Plano. The office is staffed entirely by volunteers who are ready to assist veterans, by appointment or walk-in, to connect with any kind of resources they need from housing to education to counseling. Reach out: 214-600-2966 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
900 E Park Blvd., Ste 155, Plano, TX 75074