MISSOULA — Veterans told U.S. Sen. Steve Daines they are "disgusted" at the chaotic pull-out of Afghanistan and are deeply worried about the mental health impacts on veterans who served there.
The comments came Monday afternoon during a heartfelt and sometimes emotional roundtable organized by Daines at the American Legion Hall in Missoula.
Daines told the group he wanted to hear their ideas and concerns following the American pullout which has resulted in safety concerns for Americans and the Afghan people who helped the U.S. during its 20-year operation.
Several veterans who had served in both Afghanistan and Iraq expressed concerns for the local military partners and their families, saying they fail to understand why the Biden Administration hasn't done more to ensure their evacuation.
But they're also worried about their fellow soldiers who've already returned home, saying the rapid pullout and fall of the Afghan government is going to do to their mental health, creating a feeling of hopelessness that could result in problems similar to those after Vietnam.
Daines assured the panel, which also included members of the Missoula-based International Rescue Committee, that his staff is actively working to ensure the safety of advisors who still need to be evacuated.
He also promised to continue analyzing what happened in Afghanistan, saying "heads will roll" if needed.
The veterans also urged other Montanans to welcome the refugee families with "open arms", giving them the same respect they would other military veterans.