Former marine who served in Afghanistan speaks out about situation

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Overseas in Afghanistan, within the last 24 hours, the Taliban has relentlessly continued sweeping more parts of the country, taking four more cities just weeks before President Biden ordered U.S. armed forces to pull out of the war-torn country.

News10NBC Jenny Ly reports more on what came about from the Pentagon this afternoon and speaks to a former marine who spent time serving in Afghanistan.

“What we want to be able to do is to get there fast and get there capable and be able to provide as much capacity to the State Department as we can and our intention is to be able to move thousands per day,” said John F. Kirby, Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs.

Speaking about the Pentagon’s mission of evacuating U.S. embassy employees as well as thousands of Aghan interpreters who helped U.S. troops, Defense Press Secretary Kirby Friday said in a briefing that it is a very rapid and fluid situation.

“We are certainly concerned by the speed with which the Taliban has been moving,” Kirby said.

Overnight, the insurgents continued to blitz through more provincial capitals, which means that the Taliban now controls more than two-thirds of the country. Those here who fought there, like Marine Nick Stefanovic, say this news is disturbing.

“Every day now as we read the news headlines it feels like somebody is ripping my heart out,” Stefanovic said.

Stefanovic, who helps run the Monroe County Veterans Service Agency, served two years in Afghanistan and saw firsthand what the Taliban did.

“People need to understand as they’re taking these areas, the public executions are coming back, and women going back into slavery is coming back. It’s like Nazi Germany spreading its forces, so we need to keep the Afghan people in our thoughts,” he said.

Stefanovic is upset; upset for him, his fellow brothers and sisters in the military who served in Afghanistan, and upset for the people of Afghanistan.

“Videos are coming out now of public executions. They’re coming out of groups of prisoners surrendering and just being shot and killed in the middle of the street. As we watch that stuff, those who served in that country…it’s heart-wrenching to see because we saw that when we went there. We stopped it from happening, and now we feel powerless as it all comes back,” Stefanovic said.

This week there are a number of Afghan families coming to the states and resettling right here in Rochester. If you want to help in any way, there is an organization here locally called Keeping Our Promise where you can volunteer or provide any donations.