Retired Afghanistan Special Forces officer Don Bolduc shares message for service members, vets

Retired Afghanistan Special Forces officer Don Bolduc shares message for service members, vets

August 19, 2021

U.S. allies alarmed by Taliban takeover in Afghanistan

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Retired Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc, who served 10 tours in Afghanistan and was one of the first Special Forces officers in the country after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, says U.S. service members and veterans’ efforts in the country “were not in vain.”

The Taliban has gained control of more than two-thirds of Afghanistan amid the U.S. military’s withdrawal from the country after 20 years, prompting citizens to flee their homes and seek refuge in the U.S. and elsewhere.

“…Our service members and the sacrifices that they made in the sacrifice their families made were not in vain because they did their job,” Bolduc, who served in the U.S. Army for 33 years and is now running for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire, told Fox News in an interview. 

Retired Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc 
(Fox News)

He continued: “We liberated Afghanistan in the first rotation. They wanted us to build a military. We built it. They wanted us to build a national police. We built it. They wanted us to help build their government institutions. We did it. They wanted us to help the Afghan people go back to school, get health care and open up small businesses. We did it. And they did it with honor, bravery, and they did it well.”

The failures that have led us to today’s crisis in Afghanistan, he said, came from “the top: the policymakers, the military strategists and reinforcing failure over four different administrations.”

“And that’s wrong. But our service members were not,” he said. “And the sacrifices that they made were not in vain because women and children in Afghanistan lived a much better life. They got educated, they got health care, they lived free. Unfortunately … political decisions and military decisions of the senior people is where the failure is.”

Bolduc emphasized that communities should be making an extra effort to reach out to service members in light of recent news.

“We should all be reaching out to family members, to friends that we know, people in our community — even if we don’t know them — supporting them with Facebook and Twitter posts and just raising that level of awareness that we support you, and you matter, and we’re sorry this happened but your service is still appreciated, and we’re grateful for your sacrifice,” he said. That’s what we need to do as a society.”

U.S soldiers stand guard along a perimeter at the international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug. 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Shekib Rahmani)

He added that members of Congress, President Biden, members of the joint staff, the secretary of defense, the State Department and other areas of government should be offering the same support.

“Everybody needs to be involved in this in this effort to make sure that our service members don’t do something to hurt themselves, because they’ve … been triggered by the unfortunate events they’re seeing on television,” the brigadier general explained.

More than 30,000 active-duty military personnel and veterans of the post-9/11 wars died by suicide compared to the more-than 7,000 service members killed in post-9/11 combat or general war operations, a June study by the Costs of War Project found, highlighting how exposure to trauma and violence can take a toll on military members and veterans.

Bolduc, who has been awarded two Purple Hearts and five Bronze Star medals over his military career, served in the 5th Special Forces Group in 2001 in an effort to boot the Taliban and al Qaeda out of Afghanistan.

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