Afghanistan (MNN) — Security forces say 8,000 people have escaped Afghanistan since Sunday, but up to 15,000 United States citizens could still be stuck there. President Biden says troops will stay as long as it takes to get them out, even if it means going past the August 31 deadline.
Many U.S. veterans who served in Afghanistan watch the events in horror. “A friend of mine has an interpreter in Afghanistan whose life is in danger; the man may be dead right now. He risked his life to support the United States when we were there fighting for his country,” Army veteran Steve Prince says.
Prince leads Warriors Set Free, a division of Set Free Ministries.
“I called a friend prior to this (interview), and he went right to the key word, it’s rage; extreme anger that the situation has developed into what it is today.”
As described here, reactions range widely among veterans. Along with anger, vengeance is a common response. “We want to go destroy those who are destroying innocent people. But ultimately, justice (and vengeance) comes from God,” Prince says, referring to Romans 12:19.
“All the people that are destroying right now will get punished directly by God. Or, they’ll get forgiven like we did. That’s between them and God.”
Warriors Set Free is a veteran-to-veteran ministry focused on one thing – overcoming through Christ. “For every veteran who’s struggling right now, understand that you did your job. You didn’t lose anything,” Prince says.
“It’s okay to have sorrow and cry over this because it’s a real pain to real people. But you have to talk about it. You have to reach out and deal with it.”
Prince and others on his team proactively meet one-on-one with veterans in their network, in West Michigan and beyond. “Checking in” like this provides accountability and prevents each vet from becoming yet another tragic statistic.
One out of 10 veterans deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan are diagnosed with alcohol or drug abuse, and the veteran suicide rate is 50-percent higher than the civilian population.
Events like the ones unfolding in Afghanistan today could trigger a relapse into poor mental health. Taliban advances may leave veterans feeling as though their sacrifices were pointless.
“[I’m] talking to these guys about understanding this isn’t their fault. What’s happening now is not their responsibility. They did their job when they were there, but [what we’re seeing] is a [result] of the leadership of our country making decisions that led to the current situation,” Prince says.
“The veteran needs to understand that they still have life in them. They still have a mission – to be a great man, a great husband and father. And, if they’re followers of Christ, to be obedient.”
“If you have challenging things you want to talk about, please reach out to Warrior Set Free,” Prince says.
“If you’re not comfortable calling somebody on our staff, reach out to someone that you know has biblical wisdom and not just their opinion of what’s happening. If you tap into sources that are not accurate, you’ll get unreliable information.”
Header image depicts a U.S. Army Soldier from the A Company, 1-503rd Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, conducts a patrol with a platoon of Afghan national army soldiers to check on conditions in the village of Yawez, Wardak province, Afghanistan, on Feb. 17, 2010.
(Photo by Sgt. Russell Gilchrest/Flickr/CC2.0)