‘The sacrifices that we made paid off:’ Local Afghanistan vet reflects on his years of service

Following the Taliban takeover of the Afghan government, some veterans who served there are asking whether the war was worth fighting. A local veterans group leader has an emphatic response to that question.

“To anybody who doubts their service and whether it was worth it, I understand where they’re coming from,” said Tom Porter, an executive vice president with the nonprofit Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Porter, who served in Afghanistan and now lives in Northern Virginia, called the current situation in Afghanistan “sad” and “chaotic.”

But he said he’s been telling his fellow veterans that the war was necessary following the Sept. 11 attacks.

“We had to respond to that. I don’t regret going to war at all,” Porter said. “The sacrifices that we made paid off.”

Porter said that the war and the massive investment from the U.S. “enabled us to make a safer America and to guard against terrorism worldwide.”

“Overall yes it was worth it. I can’t say that enough,” Porter added.

President Joe Biden pledged firmly Friday to bring all Americans home from Afghanistan — and all Afghans who aided the war effort, too.

Biden’s promises came as thousands more Americans and others seeking to escape the Taliban struggled to get past crushing crowds, Taliban airport checkpoints and sometimes-insurmountable U.S. bureaucracy.

“We will get you home,” Biden promised Americans who were still in Afghanistan days after the Taliban retook control of Kabul, ending the two-decade war.

Biden faces continuing criticism as videos and news reports depict pandemonium and occasional violence outside the Kabul airport.

With mobs of people outside the airport and Taliban fighters ringing its perimeter, the U.S. renewed its advisory to Americans and others that it could not guarantee safe passage for any of those desperately seeking seats on the planes inside. The Taliban are regularly firing into the air to try to control the crowds, sending men, women and children running.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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