Retired Marine Sergeant Povas Miknaitis says watching what U.S servicemembers worked so hard for in Afghanistan come quickly apart is just heartbreaking.
“There’s just so many other methods of withdrawal that could have been taken. We did need to withdraw from Afghanistan, but the way that it's occurred is, that's sad,” Miknaitis said.
The one-time San Diego County Veteran of the Year is concerned the demilitarization process of destroying and disarming equipment and other tools so they can't be used by the enemy wasn't followed.
He also wonders whether some cultural differences he learned on the battlefield were ignored.
Get San Diego local news, weather forecasts, sports and lifestyle stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC San Diego newsletters.
“The history lesson on Afghanistan, they’re very tribalistic. And I think we overlooked that as a country and pretty much every other country that's tried to assist Afghanistan overlooked that. Looking at things as like a region and having one central power, Afghanistan doesn't work that way," explained Miknaitis.
A possible miscalculation that now has Afghans desperate to escape by air or across the border.
“We have our American forces there and we need to get them back, but now we have all of these people that we promised something to, that we promised that we'd protect them, that we'd take care of them, and now we're leaving them and they stuck their necks out for us," he said
Afghanistan’s 20-year taste of freedom that's cost tens of thousands of Afghan and American lives gone with the Taliban takeover.
“The last thing I'd want to say is that it was a waste," Miknaitis said. "You know, great American heroes lost their lives trying to protect innocence in Afghanistan and getting rid of people doing horrible things in Afghanistan. And you know, there were horrible people that were removed and taken care of. So there's less bad people there.”
Miknaitis said what's happening in Afghanistan is weighing so heavy on his heart that he's messaged friends asking if there are any jobs in the country that would take him into harm’s way to help the people there.