DENVER — Terrifying images online show crowds clinging to U.S. airplanes and flooding tarmacs as Afghanistan falls to the Taliban. The images are all the more shocking to the thousands of American soldiers who risked their lives to keep safe the land that is now thrown into chaos.
"There's a lot of incredible sacrifices that a lot of people have made," said Avi Bakshani, a soldier who served in Afghanistan from 2013 to 2014. "It is awful to know that we were trying to do something good and it failed."
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Bakshani, who lives in Denver, served in the Kandahar province as a fire support officer during his time in Afghanistan. In charge of three platoons, he says the challenge of passing military control to Afghan forces was challenging.
"I could see how difficult the mission was," Bakshani said. "There's a lot of incredible sacrifices that a lot of people have made."
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Sacrifices, he says, that many who lost friends and family in Afghanistan may see in vain.
"I know a lot of them must have justified their loss when it happened with the idea that it had a purpose, that it was for something good," he said. "And to have that taken away from them again probably feels a lot like we live in the loss all over again."
He says now, with time running out, the most important mission left is to save lives.
"We have now a whole lot of time to do what we can to help," Bakshani said. "I don't think that there's a happy ending to the Afghan story."
People struggling to cope with the events happening in Afghanistan can click here for resources to help.