Many U.S. veterans of the Afghanistan war have become demoralized and are struggling with their mental health as the Taliban rapidly seized territory throughout the Middle Eastern nation, Fox News reported.
“You made a huge difference … in lives of people you haven’t met and will never meet,” Roya Rahmani said in a message to distraught and frustrated U.S. veterans during her interview with Fox News.
“It was the progress that was made,” she continued. “It was the education [Afghans] received. It was the job they experienced. It was the opportunities that they enjoyed.”
“That has a life-changing impact,” Rahmani, who served as ambassador until July, said.
Rahmani made clear that regardless of whatever happens as the Taliban seize control, U.S. intervention had meaningful, positive influence on a vast number lives.
She also told Fox News that meetings with veterans were among her most impactful experiences while serving as Afghanistan’s first female ambassador to the U.S.
Rahmani detailed one “intimate” experience with Gold Star families where she detailed how the troops’ efforts “changed her life and the lives of so many others.”
“A week later, I received a mail in the letter,” Rahmani told Fox News. “It was from the parents of this soldier that lost his life in Afghanistan.”
“And they wrote to me saying that they found peace after we met,” she continued. “That it actually gave them closure. They found a way to deal with the pain, knowing what this was all about.”
Rahmani also said she understands the American public’s frustration and why polls have shown that U.S. voters support withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. She noted that progress in her country doesn’t always make it to the U.S. public.
“The planes landing safely do not make news,” Rahmani told Fox News. “I understand your frustration.”
The Taliban rapidly seized territory across Afghanistan. Since Fox News’ interview with Rahmani on Friday, the Taliban have invaded Kabul, where her brother runs a university.
“At this point, he is just under threat himself. And his family,” Rahmani told Fox News before Kabul was invaded. “We’re just praying for their survival.”
Rahmani also described the progress Afghanistan made over the last 20 years, particularly for women. She noted how prior to the U.S. intervention in 2001, girls weren’t allowed to attend school and needed male escorts just to leave the home.
Rahmani told Fox News the progress was “historically unprecedented in terms of women empowerment and their achievements.” But she also said women were the most at risk under Taliban rule and that there’s “a huge catastrophe literally unfolding.”
She said 70% of Afghanistan’s population is under 30, meaning that most people spent the majority of their lives with U.S. occupation and don’t know what life is like without it.
“All those people who have been educated, who have been empowered, they’re not only fearing losing those abilities, the rights, the potentials, but also their very way of life,” she continued.
“They are afraid for their lives,” Rahmani said. Afghans worry when the Taliban are “going to come and get them and brutally torture them and imprison them and what not.”
She also said that a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan will lead to greater instability of the region and that it could help breed terrorism at an international scale. Rahmani was skeptical that diplomatic talks with the Taliban would be fruitful, noting how those efforts have repeatedly failed over the years.
“If you have already tested and tried some approaches and they have failed, trying them again will not make them successful,” Ramhani told Fox News. “Otherwise, we will just be repeating over and over what we have done in the past. It’s the people of Afghanistan who will be bearing the brunt of that.”
The Biden administration and a slew of western nations met with the Taliban in Doha last week to put diplomatic pressure on the extremist group.
Rahmani feels Afghanistan is heading toward “very bloody civil war that will be very difficult to end. God knows how long it will continue for.”
Still, Rahmani is prepared to push forward and encouraged U.S. veterans to do the same, even if they see all the progress Afghanistan has made “shattering now and being on the verge of collapse.”
“My message always is that of hope,” she told Fox News. “Let’s be hopeful. Let’s try to do something about it. Giving up is never an option.”