A soldier who lost his legs fighting the Taliban has spoken of his “anger, betrayal and sadness” at the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
In a series of emotional tweets, Jack Cummings said his sacrifice was “probably not worth it”, adding that his “mates” seemed to have died “in vain”.
The Taliban swept into Kabul on Sunday after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, bringing a stunning end to a two-decade campaign in which the US and its allies had tried to transform Afghanistan.
The country’s Western-trained security forces collapsed in a matter of days, even before the withdrawal of the last US troops.
Cummings – who competed in the Invictus Games in 2017 – wrote: “Boris Johnson and Joe Biden said they didn’t die in vain. You say that face-to-face to a grieving wife or mum.
“Was it worth it, probably not. Did I lose my legs for nothing, looks like it. Did my mates die in vain. Yep.”
Was it worth it, probably not. Did I lose my legs for nothing, looks like it. Did my mates die in vain. Yep. On my 11th Bangaversary it’s a very somber one. Many emotions going through my head, anger, betrayal sadness to name a few…. pic.twitter.com/xNkjZ9qqe6— Jack Cummings (@Jack_Top4997) August 14, 2021
Thousands of Afghans fearing a return to Taliban rule are trying to flee the country through Kabul’s international airport.
Videos circulating on social media showed hundreds of people racing across the tarmac as US soldiers fired warning shots in the air.
Another showed a crowd pushing and shoving its way up a staircase, trying to board a plane, with some people hanging off the railings.
As many as 454 British soldiers died fighting in Afghanistan – and their bereaved families have lashed out at the UK and American governments’ handling of their withdrawal from the stricken country.
Graham Knight, father of 25-year-old RAF Sergeant Ben Knight who was killed when his Nimrod aircraft exploded in Afghanistan in 2006, said the British government should have moved more quickly to get civilians out.
The 69-year-old told PA: “We’re not surprised that the Taliban have taken over because as soon as the Americans and the British said they were going to leave, we knew this was going to happen.
“The Taliban made their intent very clear that, as soon as we went out, they would move in. As for whether people’s lives were lost through a war that wasn’t winnable, I think they were.
“I think the problem was we were fighting people that were native to the country. We weren’t fighting terrorists, we were fighting people who actually lived there and didn’t like us being there.”
Discussing the footage of people desperately climbing on to planes in Kabul to escape, Knight said: “I feel very sorry for them, they’re obviously fighting for their lives. Anybody who feels like that is in a desperate situation. It’s like Saigon all over again.”
The fall of Saigon happened when military personnel evacuated the former southern capital of Vietnam in 1975 after the North Vietnamese army captured the city, leading to the end of the Vietnam War.
Knight went on: “I think it was all started too late again. It (the evacuation process) should have started about a week ago.
“My main worry is some hothead American, or British hothead, will decide that the Taliban isn’t behaving how they want, shoot at them and that will be it.”
‘Planned his escape’
Ian Sadler, whose 21-year-old Trooper son Jack died when his Land Rover struck a mine in Afghanistan in 2007, said: “I was surprised the Americans and the allies had so much confidence in the Afghan national army.
“Why did they think the Afghan national army would be able to keep the Taliban back based on just numbers alone? Why did our government and allies have so much confidence in them?
“It proved to be rubbish, really. Why did the president say Kabul will never fall when, at the same time, he must have been planning his escape?
“To pull them out so quickly like that… I would have thought it would have been more of a strategic advantage to reduce the British and American influence. When the Nato forces were pulled out so suddenly, the Afghan National Army were left without any direction.”
The 71-year-old added: “I don’t think any of the British governments – Labour, coalition or Conservative – have handled the situation in Afghanistan particularly well… The level of support given to our soldiers in Afghanistan was trivial.”