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Veteran of Afghanistan war reflects on the gains made and the US's decision to leave

"We abandoned our allies," said Jesse Jensen, who spent four tours in Afghanistan, and wears a bracelet to honor his colleague who was killed in combat.

BUCKLEY, Wash. — Sitting beneath the Buckley Veterans Monument, Jesse Jensen reflected on his past.

"We abandoned our allies," said Jensen, who spent four tours in Afghanistan, and wears a bracelet to honor his colleague, who was killed in combat. "As a veteran of these conflicts, it's tough to see all of the sacrifice of the past twenty years, and to ask the question, for what?"

He continued: "I built clinics, I built roads, I helped little girls go to school in Afghanistan, and that is over," said Jensen. "It didn't have to be this way, you can debate whether we should have gotten out of Afghanistan, but what's not up for debate is to have a plan to do so, and execute that plan."

Jensen takes issue with the scenes out of the country, including images of a locally-based C-17 carrying Afghan citizens, while others rush to get on the plane. The C-17 has the clear markings of 62nd Airlift Wing, and 446th Reserves based out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The tail stripe is a solid green, which is indicative of McChord-based flight crews.

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Neither the Pentagon or JBLM would comment about whether local flight crews were aboard the plane, how many locally based airmen or airwomen, or planes were part of the rescue mission.

Jensen said he's not a fan of "forever wars," and questioned past administrations negotiations with the Taliban, but said it is tough to watch all the work evaporate so quickly and without a plan ready to go. 

"This is another example of someone not knowing what was going on," said Jensen, who said he now worries about the families he had worked alongside so many years ago. "I fear for their family, and I fear those guys are going to be beheaded, and their family is going to be destroyed."

Jensen's criticism of the president is not entirely unexpected, as he is also running as a Republican for the 8th congressional seat currently held by Democrat Kim Schrier.

In a statement on the crisis, Schrier said in part, "We must focus on taking every possible measure to evacuate our Afghan partners who fought alongside us for 20 years."

"Women and girls experienced freedoms for the first time, and it is devastating to see how quickly those gains have been lost. I am now very concerns for the Afghan people, especially those women and girls," her statement continued. 

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