‘What was it all for?’ British soldier fights back tears and questions role in Afghanistan

LBC: Soldier fight backs tears as he questions role in Afghanistan

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Caller Gary rang in to LBC to discuss his time in the British Army and said the recent news about forces withdrawing from Afghanistan and the Taliban moving in had made him “emotional”. He told host Andrew Castle that throughout his service he justified the things he had to do because there was a greater “reason” behind it and respected the bigger picture of what he and his fellow soldiers were doing. But he added the hard work he put in and the pride he felt has been undone as he questioned “what was it all for” when peace in Afghanistan appears to be unattainable. 

US and UK forces have been slowly withdrawing from Afghanistan after years of aiding the Government’s forces in the fight against the Taliban. 

President Joe Biden announced all US forces would be withdrawn from Afghanistan on September 11 with many personnel already leaving the country. 

However, the Taliban have capitalised on the situation and have escalated their fighting against the Afghanistan Government who have relied on western support for training and military intervention. 

Analysts suggest many civilians will be displaced and could cause another migrant crisis for Europe. 

Gary called into LBC to talk about his time in Afghanistan and said: “I’ve never spoken with a radio station like this before but this is really struck a chord with me, I feel quite emotional about it this morning.

“When I served in Iraq and Afghanistan and Kuwait before that and part of serving you always need to feel you’re doing it for a reason, so you have to do quite difficult things on a daily basis but you could always level it with yourself that you know you’re just doing it for a reason.

“So back in Kuwait, we were doing it to protect Kuwaitis from Saddam Hussein crossing back over the border and you could level that with yourself.

“Then when it was 2003 when we went into Iraq, it was weapons of mass destruction, you could really level that with yourself and with things that you had to do.

“And then that turned out to be not true and then with this Afghanistan thing I really can’t get my head around it I feel quite emotional today.”

Ben Wallace discusses possibility of return to Afghanistan

He explained he saw a “huge loss of life” which “seems to be now completely for nothing” and continued to question his role in the Army. 

He told host Andrew Castle he had “respect” for his enemy because, like him, they were fighting for a reason and had a cause to fight for but that has now been taken from him. 

Gary added: “It’s brought my whole career into question, those tours I’ve been proud of and the things I have achieved, when I look back at it now what exactly have I done it for, what was it all for?”

Gary left the army in 2012 and told LBC he “struggled” to get over his service but the recent news about Afghanistan has “brought it all back” for him. 

In 2001, US-led force toppled the Taliban regime following the 9/11 attacks masterminded by Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden who was based there. 

Over the next 20 years, western forces would support the Afghan Government to bring back peace and stability to the region following the Taliban insurgency. 

However, in 2019, the Trump administration began negotiating with the Taliban without the Afghan Government which saw prisoners released in exchange for a ceasefire. 

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The following year, the US agreed to pull all troops out by May 2021 if the Taliban did not harbour extremists like Al-Qaeda. 

President Joe Biden pushed the date back to September but most of the agreement remained the same. 

US forces have already begun withdrawing from the region which has spurred on Taliban forces to ramp up their attacks, with reports they are closing in on the capital Kabul. 

While Afghan forces technically have the greater firepower and numbers, the security forces have had issues with desertion, high casualties and corruption. 

Western officials have begun evacuating the capital and other areas in Afghanistan as the US sends 3,000 troops to Kabul to help.

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