Local veteran reacts to America’s longest war coming to an end


(FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – As America’s longest war came to an end Monday afternoon, local veteran Dan Cloninger couldn’t help but reflect on his time in the country.

“We’re not there. We’re not there to protect the people,” said Cloninger, a retired Major in the North Carolina Air National Guard.

“We’re not there to protect whoever we left behind.”

‘End of a 20-year mission.’ Last troops exit Afghanistan ending America’s longest war

The Pentagon announced Monday that the last of American troops left just before 3:30 Washington time.

The departure comes as the Taliban has retaken control of much of the country and plans to install a government.

“Today could not have happened at a worst time because we are coming up on a significant anniversary of 9/11. It’s the 20th year,” said Cloninger.

President Joe Biden had set a deadline for ending the war on Tuesday.

As US military leaves Kabul, many Americans, Afghans remain

For the last two weeks, thousands of troops have worked tirelessly to get American citizens and Afghans who assisted in the war out of the country.

However, Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, said a number of American citizens, likely numbering in “the very low hundreds,” were left behind.

McKenzie said he believes those Americans will still be able to leave the country.

What’s happening? Sign up here for FOX 46 Alerts and get Breaking News sent straight to your inbox

Cloninger left Afghanistan nearly a decade ago. He was a C-130 Navigator who spent roughly two years in the country through multiple tours.

“You have sons of Taliban leaders now that are fighting. When we started the war in Afghanistan they were babies. Now they’re fighters, Taliban fighters,” said Cloninger.

The war veteran said if there’s one silver lining to two decades of war, it’s that there are now resources for veterans returning home.

“I would say to anyone who is sad or depressed about what’s happened. They’re watching what happened to people in Afghanistan. Use those resources.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here