Los Angeles-area legislators and community leaders spoke out this week about the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan’s government amid the withdrawal of U.S. military forces after two decades, with the county offering counseling assistance for veterans affected by the developments.
“As we witness with wide eyes and heavy hearts the sad and troubling turn of events unfolding in Afghanistan, I want to acknowledge our fellow servicemen and women, veterans and their families who have so valiantly served over the past 20 years, and those who’ve given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom,’’ said retired Brig. Gen. Ruth A. Wong, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
“What is currently happening may affect you and other war-era veterans in many ways—you may feel a range of emotions in connection to the war(s) and I want to take a moment to offer support,” Wong said.
She urged veterans in need of support to contact the Veterans Crisis Line—(800) 273-8255—or the Women Veterans Hotline, (855) 829-6636. L.A. County veterans can also contact the Veterans Peer Access Network at (800) 854- 7771 or at dmh.lacounty.gov/veterans/.
Rep. Ted Lieu (CA-33) said he believes the decision to pull troops out of Afghanistan was “difficult but correct.’’
“If the United States could not win in Afghanistan after 20 years of war, we would not win if we stayed and fought for another 20 years,’’ Lieu said. “Making the right decision for the U.S.’ national interest does not ease the pain of watching Afghanistan—a country in which we have invested so much over the last two decades–deteriorate in a matter of days.’’
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) called for domestic and international support for the evacuation of Americans and at-risk Afghans.