Northland veteran ‘disheartened’ by situation in Afghanistan

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Ongoing unrest in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of U.S. troops has led to a whirlwind of emotion for veterans of the Afghanistan War nationwide and here in the Northland.

“It’s very disheartening to see the Taliban take over again after 20 years,” Lt. Commander Roger Reinert of Duluth said.

Reinert served as a public affairs officer in Afghanistan for one year. During that time, he met countless service men and women. Today, he is devastated for all the lives lost.

“Every one of us who was deployed—our lives were changed by that experience. Some, more than others of course, as some didn’t make it home at all,” Reinert said.

He is also worried that residents of Afghanistan are in grave danger.

"I think many of us right now in this moment are really concerned for the Afghans who supported us—the people that worked closely with us—interpreters and cultural advisors, as well as, just every day Afghans who did things like clean your bathroom on the base. Their lives are in danger,” Reinert said.

During this difficult time, Reinert said that it is crucial for loved ones to check in on those who served in Afghanistan to see how they are doing. He also advises veterans to check in with themselves as they continue to process ongoing developments as they unfold.

“There’s nothing strong or tough about keeping all of this inside. No one in our generation has had this experience of investing so much and seeing it all collapse. So, don’t be tough. Talk to a shipmate, talk to a teammate. The Veteran’s Center is a great resource. Just reach out and talk about it,” Reinert said.

Some local resources for veterans to utilize include: