US withdrawal leaves Afghan soldiers feeling abandoned

US withdrawal leaves Afghan soldiers feeling abandoned

Ahmad Seyar was 19 when he decided to join the Afghan Army.

Born in a time war and turmoil, he had grown up idolising the soldiers – Afghan and international – who helped to protect his village in northern Afghanistan.

He wanted to be just like them, and to save his people.

But eight years later, with violence mounting and some of his closest friends and loved ones among its victims, Lt Seyar is becoming disillusioned.

This month, his younger brother, also a soldier, was killed by a mine in southern Logar province.

“He was very young, and full of hope for the future. We were planning his wedding, but now he’s been taken from us by the Taliban who kill everyone,” Lt Seyar told The National.

“My mother, who was a war widow, raised us by herself to serve this country. And now after everything, she’s lost a child to this war that doesn’t seem to end.”

However, Lt Seyar said he felt betrayed more than anything after the US peace agreement with the Taliban earlier this year.

He and his brother enlisted in the army to join forces with their heroes, the US forces whom they saw as allies in a righteous battle against the insurgents who oppressed them, he said.

The US-Taliban deal laid out a timeline for the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan in exchange for the insurgents opening peace talks with the Afghan government, among other conditions.

Lt Seyar and many of his compatriots were hopeful that perhaps the deal would start a chapter that would end the decades of war. But that hope seems to be ebbing away after nearly three months of talks in Qatar without tangible results.

Read full report on The National