SOUTHERN COLORADO — Monday marked exactly one year since the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan, as the United States announced the withdrawal of its troops after 20 years at war.
"I personally felt like it was a good time. I feel it was long overdue. A tremendous amount of money, and resources, and much fewer lives were lost over there. We had already captured our primary purpose, which was to kill Osama Bin Laden, and which we did," says retired Staff Sergeant Paul Hendricksen who served in the United States Army Infantry and spent 15 months in Afghanistan beginning in 2009.
Hendricksen recalls feeling like it was time for Special Forces to step in and take over operations in Afghanistan towards the end of his tour.
"There is only a certain amount of time that you can try to instill an ideology, and there is only so much time that you can put into that and much less the lives that go into trying to uphold that foreign policy, and we did what we could," Hendricksen said.
As reports began flowing out of Afghanistan 12 months after the U.S. left, images depict scenes of poverty, violence, and women's rights being stripped away from the country.
"It does hurt to see that stuff, but we have that same issue happening here in the United States and the rights of the women in this country are being stripped away slowly and surely. We need to do something about that, and worry about cleaning our own house before we clean others," said Hendricksen.
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