Deployed thrice to Afghanistan, a US Army Maj. Kristen Rouse on Tuesday reportedly stated that after the Taliban’s abrupt seizure of Kabul, Afghans now fear that they’re “going to die.” Citing concerns of some of the civilians whom she calls ‘Afghan partners’ that served shoulder to shoulder with the US military, Rouse told reporters that they now fear for their lives and physical safety as the Taliban entered Kabul. Comparing the scene to the sinking Titanic ship, the US Army Maj. told the NPR’s Morning Edition that the Afghans were as helpless as the people that had plunged into the freezing waters knowing that only the crew were getting the lifeboats.
Rouse referenced the scene to the instances of the special visas expedited for the family of the interpreters and Afghan translators that helped the US Army in Afghanistan as the rest of the civilians now flee in the fear of Taliban reprisal. “And then for all of our friends who are in the water about to die, they are reaching out to us on social media, telephone, in every way that they can, to beg us, to beg us for lifeboats,” Rouse said in a broadcast statement.
Earlier, speaking about the US-Taliban peace deal, the US Army Maj. had expressed concerns about the future of her Afghan partners as the Taliban rapidly advanced towards Kabul. She told the network that the US veterans and military troops resonated similar sentiments, especially those who had served on Afghan soil for 20 long years.
[Taliban fighters stand guard at a checkpoint that was previously manned by American troops near the US embassy, in Kabul, Afghanistan. AP]
“We made promises to people [Afghans],” Rouse stated in her remarks to the NPR, adding that the US Army had said, “You are working with us; we will do all we can.” She continued that with the sudden drawdown of the troops, she wasn’t “seeing where we have answers” or the “way out for the people [Afghans] that did good work for us.”
US Army Maj. appreciated the support of the Afghan civilians saying that the Army could not have been able to conduct any of the missions in Afghanistan had it not been for the interpreters and allies. “We could not have done anything in Afghanistan without local interpreters, you know, other workers who sustained us, who worked on our bases, who worked with (non-governmental organizations), who worked with, you know,” the armed forces personnel said in a televised address to the news agency NPR.
She then called the Special Immigrant Visas issuance “an agonizingly bureaucratic process” adding that there are delays, denials, and many cannot even get passports while “they’re begging for a way out.”
[Smoke rises next to the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Taliban fighters have entered the outskirts of the Afghan capital, further tightening their grip on the country. Rahmat Gul/AP]
When asked if the Afghan National Forces laid weapons without putting a fight against the Taliban, Rouse responded that the Afghan military, the Afghan National Army, Afghan police have been fighting and dying for 20 years. She adds, that the Afghan military “rode around in unarmored Ford Rangers that we [US Army] gave them” without equipment, nowhere near the ammo, or even body armours. “They’ve been fighting all this time. And to say now that they didn’t resist, they didn’t fight for their country, it is just, it’s wrong,” US Army Maj. told the agency.
US President Joe Biden earlier at a White House press briefing stood firm by his decision of drawing down the US troops saying, “We did not go to Afghanistan to nation-build. And it’s the right and the responsibility of the Afghan people alone to decide their future.”