In a national poll, 73 percent of veterans said that the Afghanistan withdrawal negatively impacted the way they percieve the Global War on Terror.
Mission Roll Call, a veteran service organization that seeks to capture diverse perspectives of veterans and elevate their needs through policy advocacy, polled roughly 5,500 veterans about the pullout from Afghanistan.
“We wanted to get a sense of how the community still felt about it, because we traveled across the country, through high veteran population areas, gross and per capita, and we were still getting very visceral responses when we would start talking about Afghanistan,” Executive Director of Mission Roll Call Cole Lyle told Military Times.
The chaos of the withdrawal isn’t the only source of frustration, however. More than a year out, 83 percent of those polled said they were dissatisfied with the lack of accountability from senior civilian and military officials in how they handled the withdrawal.
As such, the organization supports an investigation into the withdrawal, which was recently announced by the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“I think we need questions about how the intelligence community engages an ally, or a foreign adversary’s will to fight,” Lyle noted. “I think we saw estimations that Kabul, and the country, would hold up longer than it did.”
Lyle also said that there is a need for policymakers to be more transparent, adding that the military community deserves answers from both civilian and military leaders about what happened in Afghanistan during August 2021.
“The community is still just so angry about it. It’s a very raw subject for people who deployed to Afghanistan themselves,” Lyle said. “You’ve had men and women that spent more time in five years in one of those two countries, or both, than they did stateside.”
Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.