Unrest in Kabul sparks concerns for local Afghanistan veterans

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CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The destruction in Afghanistan has caused heartbreak at home as many Americans watched the Taliban take over Kabul.

President Biden doubled down on Monday, standing by his decision to end America’s 20-year war in Afghanistan.

“I stand squarely behind my decision. After 20 years, I’ve learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. Forces. It’s why we’re still there. We were clear-eyed about the risk,” President Biden said.

22News spoke with Peggie Clark from Easthampton. She says U.S. forces have been there long enough.

“I think they should really get out of there, and hopefully, safely,” Clark said.

Her grandson is a member of the Airforce, stationed in Utah.

“I just hope and pray that he doesn’t have to go over there himself,” she said.

Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services

Fear of more conflict isn’t the only thing on the minds of local residents. Veteran, Sergeant Gumercindo Gomez is the executive director of the Western Mass Bilingual Veterans Outreach Center. He’s concerned the suicide rate among soldiers who fought in Afghanistan will increase significantly. As a Vietnam veteran, he knows what these soldiers are going through and is asking the community to support them.

“Get them to the VA, get them to somebody that can curve those monsters that they’re going through right now. Those minds are racing. They’re asking the questions. What did I sacrifice for?” he said.

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