SEATTLE — As the Afghan government falls, families in the United States worry for their loved ones abroad who are caught among the chaos.
“It’s hard to believe that this is happening in 2021, it’s hard to watch it,” said a woman who did want to be identified other than being called “B."
“I have family there right now. I have two aunts there. I have cousins there; their spouses their children, all under the age of four and I don’t know how to help them,” B said from her apartment outside Seattle.
President Joe Biden said he's standing by his decision to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan, ending the two-decade and $1 trillion-involvement.
“After 20 years, I've learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces,” Biden said during a televised speech from the White House.
Middle East experts feared the fall of the Afghan government should the US withdraw troops, but no one predicted it would happen this fast.
“I was incredibly surprised. I think we’re all just in a state of shock. You can’t talk to any Afghan right now that’s not grieving and mourning and just in a state of utter disbelief,” B said.
B visited her native Afghanistan in 2008. She planned to return but now fears she never will.
“How do you give hope to your family that messages you – trying to tell them it will be OK, but I don’t know if it will be OK. I don’t know what is going to happen,” she said.
Among the evacuations and retreat of the Afghan people there are the symbolic losses, ones that represent a new direction for a country now under new leadership.
“I don’t think that any of that hurt as much as much as seeing the flag taken down. Both the American flag and the Afghan flag are truly special to me,” B said.