LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – A local veteran who served in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps for almost 30 years, including time in Afghanistan, said she fears the worst for helpless civilians left behind as the Taliban seizes the country.
Rozetha Hicks, a retired Lieutenant Commander, has been paying close attention to news coverage as Afghanistan descends into a state of chaos following President Bident’s decision to remove American troops and logistical support for the Afghan military.
“Without our presence there, then all of that goes back to as if we were never there,” Hicks said.
Hicks was one of the thousands of U.S. service members sent to Afghanistan since 2001 to help rebuild the nation and keep the Taliban from returning to power.
“I saw first hand some of the destruction, lives lost and recourses so I am with a lot of emotion and somewhat angry,” said Hicks.
She said while the U.S. had forces in Afghanistan, civilians felt secure. But that security quickly eroded over the past two weeks.
“The 20 years we spent there may have given them some respite but that is all it was for those 20 years,” said Hicks. “The Taliban know we are no longer there they just pretty much waited us out”
During her time in Afghanistan, Hicks worked in a local hospital. She came face to face with members of the Taliban and even had to treat some of their wounded. She said there is a good reason why the Afghani people are left fearing for their lives.
“You should fear that person because they aren’t afraid to lose their own lives, so your life means even less,” she explained.
Educated young women, former U.S. military translators, and other Afghans most at-risk from the Taliban are appealing to the Biden administration to get them on evacuation flights.
President Joe Biden and his top officials say the U.S. is working to speed up the evacuation, but they’re making no promises about how long it will last or how many desperate people it will fly to safety.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says, “We don’t have the capability to go out and collect large numbers of people.” He says evacuations will continue “until the clock runs out or we run out of capability.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.