A message from the NATO Military Committee to all Allied and Partner troops who have served in Afghanistan:
Dear troops from Allied and Partner countries who have served in the NATO missions in Afghanistan. This morning, the NATO Military Committee convened to discuss the current situation in Afghanistan.
The speed of the collapse of the Afghan security forces and government has created a heated debate in our Armed Forces and in our societies. Your sacrifices there make this a matter very close to our hearts.
Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, admiral Rob Bauer, Royal Netherlands Navy. Screenshot from a video address on the current situation in Afghanistan.
Many are asking: was it worth it? Were our efforts in vain? The answers to these questions are deeply personal. But, on behalf of the Military Committee, I would like to say to you all: that fighting for what you believe in, is never in vain. Doing what your democratic governments have asked you to do and fulfilling the role that was enshrined in our constitutions, is never in vain.
Around one million of our men and women in uniform served in Afghanistan. Leaving behind their loved ones to help build a better future for the people there.
Putting your life in the service of freedom has much to offer. But it can – and has – also led to scars. Physical or mental. There are families that are coping with tremendous loss.
For those who are struggling: please reach out to a buddy or a veteran organisation to get the help you need and very much deserve.
To all of you, I say: Your service in Afghanistan has irreversibly changed the country. Just as it has irreversibly changed you.
The individual sacrifice you made should never be taken for granted.
Taliban on top: fighters stand guard on a captured US Humvee in front of the Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 16, 2021. Credit: Rahmat Gul/AP.