KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The dramatic evacuation process continues in Afghanistan as people try to flee the takeover by the Taliban. President Biden said that he will stick to his Aug. 31 deadline to get Americans out of the country.
The takeover happened quickly, nearly 20 years after the Taliban was forced out of Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks.
FOX4’s John Holt and The Kansas City Star’s Dave Helling are joined by Lucas Kunce, Marine, Missouri native, and Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate. Kunce served 13 years as an active duty Marine and served two tours in Afghanistan.
Kunce wrote an Op-Ed that was published in the Kansas City Star titled “I served in Afghanistan as a US Marine, twice. Here’s the truth in two sentences.”
In the article, Kunce suggests that the U.S. should have known for some time what was happening in Afghanistan, and what would happen when U.S. troops tried to leave.
“My true belief is that is that, you know, D.C. politicians, elites, the higher up in the military had been lying to us for 20 years, and I say us I mean the American people about what we were supposedly accomplishing with basically nothing in Afghanistan, and then anyone who was telling you what you’re seeing right now wasn’t inevitable is still lying to you,” Kunce said.
Kunce said he had a moment of clarity and said he still remembers the exact moment he came to that conclusion. He said it happened during his first interview with a member of the Taliban in a prison about 12 years into the war.
“You were trying to kill Americans, and how do you think this is gonna play out?” Kunce said. “And he said well you know what, you can either let me out, in which case I’ll keep trying to kill you until you’re gone, or you can leave me in here and eventually, you guys are going to be gone, and this is going to be our country again.”
Kunce said that was the answer of an imprisoned man more than a decade after the Taliban fell.
“he real important point around that, is that that was after 12 years you know the Taliban was broken in 2002 or 2003. And instead of leaving them like we should have done we stuck around, we gave them an enemy to practice against the best, you know the best military in the world these guys practiced against, and they got to practice against us for 20 years,” Kunce said. “And while they were broken at the beginning, by the time I was there they were full of resolve, they had learned a lot of things, not just about military but PR, diplomacy, relationships, and so by the time we hit 20 years, I mean, those guys knew what they were doing.”
Lucas said that the U.S. military succeeded quickly at first, but then faltered because it was asked to do things that the military wasn’t built to handle.
“Where we failed in Afghanistan is that we were nation building, you know, the United States military is built to fight wars were built to kill people, we were doing that when we were over there and we’re not built, we’re not made to build a nation like that,” Kunce said. “We accomplished our first mission. Almost immediately. It took like two months to route the Taliban, and to take away al-Qaida’s safe hold.”
Kunce said that’s when the military should have left the country and someone else should have worked to rebuild Afghanistan.
“And so what we should have done then was we should have gotten out then and if al-Qaida came back, then we just go in and do it again and these guys woulda learned, and said okay like al Qaeda you’re not welcome here anymore but instead we stayed for 20 years, we put a big fat target on our backs,” Kunce said.
In the end, Kunce said that since the U.S. military stayed for so long, it allowed the Taliban to practice, plan, and grow more focused.
“I mean you saw that right? They were able to take a country over in 14 days and the people of Afghanistan knew that too, which is, which is why a lot of the people lay down their arms and let it happen,” Kunce said.
This edition of “4Star Politics” was recorded hours before the deadly attacks in Kabul. Following the attacks, guest Lucas Kunce, who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, issued the following statement:
“Today, we lost more brave American service members in Afghanistan. I cannot fully begin to express my heartbreak for what their families are enduring.
This is what war looks like. This is what it has looked like for twenty years. It’s what it looked like in 2014 when I stood on the runway in Helmand, Afghanistan with a hundred other Marines and saluted a fallen member of our battalion as he was loaded into a transport plane for his final flight home.
And this is what it will continue to look like if we keep going.
Today’s attack makes our mission even clearer: get out of Afghanistan, bring our people home and start rebuilding our own country. Not one more American should die for a war that most Afghanistan veterans like me know should have ended over 19 years ago.
I have a clear message to those demanding we stay in Afghanistan indefinitely: You’ve had your twenty years, your $2 trillion, your nearly 2,500 American service members who made the ultimate sacrifice. Not one more.”
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