“It’s sad and heartbreaking because a lot of lives were lost and it makes you wonder if it was just for nothing,” one veteran said
ST. LOUIS — Chaos at the airport in Kabul as the capital fell to Taliban insurgents was one of the scenes seen by millions over the weekend.
RELATED: Kabul airport plunges into chaos as Taliban patrols capital
Afghan citizens tried desperately to make it on the last planes out, scrambling onto runways and clinging onto planes down the runways.
The collapse of the Afghan government followed the withdraw of U.S. troops in the country.
President Joe Biden spoke to the nation Monday afternoon, admitting the collapse unfolded quicker than he had anticipated.
READ: Biden team surprised by rapid Taliban gains in Afghanistan
“It’s disturbing how quickly it’s deteriorated,” Army veteran Bryan Beck said.
All the way here in St. Louis, Becker feels that impact.
“Seeing what’s going on in Kabul right now and the Taliban taking over, it’s pretty sad how quickly after we started pulling our forces out, how they were able to take over the government that we tried to help establish,” he said.
Serving in Afghanistan from 2015 to 2016, Becker is just one of the thousands of men and women who put their lives on the line over the last two decades.
After years of hard work, to see this takeover, Becker can’t help but feel defeated.
“It’s sad and heartbreaking because a lot of lives were lost and it makes you wonder if it was just for nothing,” he said. “I don’t know what’s in store for the future.”
Governor Mike Parson, a U.S. Army veteran and Republican, also weighed in on Twitter:
Like many Missourians, I am concerned about the rapidly deteriorating situation in Afghanistan. The gross negligence demonstrated by the Biden Administration for the safety and security of our service members and our nation’s committed allies is shameful.
— Governor Mike Parson (@GovParsonMO) August 16, 2021
As did both Senators from Missouri and Senator Dick Durbin from Illinois:
My statement on the situation in Afghanistan: pic.twitter.com/VbQclInKbb
— Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) August 16, 2021
The catastrophe that has unfolded in Afghanistan was an unforced error. We are now faced with a devastating collapse of our intelligence gathering capabilities while terrorists regain a foothold to launch attacks against the United States and our allies.
— Senator Roy Blunt (@RoyBlunt) August 16, 2021
My statement on the crisis that Joe Biden’s failure of leadership has caused in Afghanistan pic.twitter.com/r2EHCxWZgI
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) August 16, 2021
Many have questions, like what happens next?
Locally, the international institute hopes to provide some answers.
“We have been preparing for a wave,” CEO Arrey Obenson told 5 On Your Side.
In the last month, the Biden administration asked Congress to increase the number of special immigrant visas for Afghans, who helped the U.S. military in the war.
“Their lives are now at stake because the Taliban forces look at them as a sellout since they were working with the U.S. Government,” he said.
Obenson said they’ve been seeing some Afghans walk in seeking help. Some are already trying to get a special visa.
“That number has increased and we are doing all we can to process their papers so that they become eligible for the visa situation,” Obenson said.
That visa helps them with housing. In 90 days, the institute gets them settled from job searches to medical evaluations, to grocery shopping.
Yet, they say, it takes all of us to welcome those who are just trying to find a safe home.
“Be prepared as a community to welcome those who will get the opportunity to come to St. Louis and be here,” Obenson said.
He also said a way to help out is by volunteering or helping with monetary donations. To help, click here.
Arbila Hatifie is an Afghan refugee living in St. Louis.
She is hosting a rally this Sunday in front of St. Louis city hall from 5 p.m.-8 p.m.
It’s a way to raise awareness about the current crisis and to get their voices heard.
Originally Appeared Here