Yuma veterans express frustration for handling of Taliban

April Hettinger, Cody Lee - 8/17/2021


CBS 13's April Hettinger and News 11's Cody Lee sit down with vets to remember the heroes who gave their life

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Veterans in Yuma County say it's a shame to see what is happening right now in Afghanistan feeling like the last 20 years have all been for nothing.

Military troops gave their blood, sweat and tears in Afghanistan. Many made the ultimate sacrifice. Now, Yuma veterans are devastated by the way our country backed out before the Taliban takeover.

Roman Bejarano, a three-year veteran who fought in Afghanistan in 2011 and 2012, says it's disappointing after seeing his good friends go down right before his eyes.

"I'm angry at the way we're pulling out and I feel like with troops, we need more troops out there, more than ever," Bejarano stated. "It feels like we're restarting this cycle all over again."

They feel their work is all for nothing, and now it's back to square one, sending troops back to risk their lives again.

Bejarano thinks going back will not be easy for his brothers and sisters in ams.

"Mentally, it's going to play a big part, I just want to make sure, first and foremost, we take care of our soldiers because without them, we won't be able to do this. I just hope that we're able to assist them as quick as they're able to recall and say hey you got to go back there click to help them out when they come back home,” Bejarano said.

Another veteran, Mark Martinez, has a suggestion for those who hold office.

"Let the military do what the military's supposed to do," Martinez explained. "It's too bad that people that aren't involved or engaged in combat with what's really going on over there, are making the decisions."

There is concern not all being flown out of Kabul Airport have good intentions.

"There's a lot of good people that helped us out over there a lot of good people. But you have to wonder how many of those may be coming over for the wrong reason.”

We asked if Martinez thinks the Pentagon is taking care of that vetting? "You know, I would hope so I don't know where they're landing, but I would hope somebody would look into,” he replied.

As we approach the 20-year anniversary of 9/11 and the start of the war in Afghanistan, local veterans look back on those who they call some of the greatest Americans who lost their lives to protect our country.