For Johnny Spann There could be no more bitter end to a war that has eaten up so many lives and required so many sacrifices on the part of the United States. The first, that of his son.
Mike Spann, a Marine Corps veteran turned CIA agent who was the first American casualty in combat in the Afghanistan war, which Joe Biden ended on August 30 with the final withdrawal of all soldiers.
The first thing Spann regrets is the abandonment of those Afghans, whom he has seen in videos running to cling to a plane, crowding at the gates of Kabul airport, killed in one attack, another, of Daesh (State
Islamic) during the evacuation. «These people helped us. We couldn’t have done the things we did in Afghanistan without the help of those Afghans. We made them a promise, and we have not kept it, we are leaving them abandoned, “Spann tells ABC from his home in Alabama.
Twenty years ago, his son, Mike Spann, contacted him days before die from afghanistan, telling him that he was convinced he was on the trail of Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, which occurred just two months earlier. It was the early days of the war on terror, and the invasion of Afghanistan was proving successful. The Taliban had just fallen. The mission seemed fast. The only thing missing was to find Bin Laden, which is what the CIA and Spann Jr. were up to.
At the end of November 2001, Johnny Spann received the devastating news that his son had died on the 25th of the same month during a riot in a barracks where he had been questioning extremists, in Qala-i-Jangi, near Mazar-e Sarif. He was 32 years old, leaving behind a wife and three children. He is buried in the military cemetery of Arlington, a short distance from the White House.
Today Johnny Spann is convinced that the sacrifice of his son and all those killed in American combat later was justified, despite the fact that the Taliban are back in power. “They kept this country safe for 20 years, because after 9/11 there have been no more terrorist attacks in America. They beat al Qaeda, they dominated the Taliban, and finally Osama bin Laden fell, “he says. Indeed, the leader of Al Qaida died in 2011, in a special forces operation in Pakistan. The problem, Spann says, is that the now president has given up. “But he has given up, because America has not been defeated,” he assures.
On the day Spann spoke to ABC, on August 31, President Biden had just delivered a fiery speech to the nation defending the exit from Afghanistan and the way in which he has executed it. Biden said that he also limited himself to following the advice of the generals, who recommended an immediate and swift exit from Afghanistan. “I was not going to allow this war to be eternal, and the exit to be eternal,” said the president. Spann wasn’t convinced. “It’s incomprehensible. And I have to say that I find the way it was done shameful. First, without removing the Americans from there. And he lies, because we know that the generals did not advise him to do things like that. The US has extracted 6,000 citizens hers from Afghanistan and has left a hundred behind, the White House estimates.
Biden always carries in his jacket pocket a paper with the figures of the dead soldiers in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. This last number grew to 2,461 after the jihadist attackin Kabul on August 26, in which 13 US soldiers were killed, in addition to 180 Afghan civilians. The president went to the Dover air base to receive his remains and there some of the relatives rebuked him, telling him that he is responsible for the deaths due to the chaotic way in which the withdrawal has been completed.
Spann is convinced, however, that despite what Biden says, this war is not over. “There are still terrorist groups, who will attack us when they can, where they can,” he says. What has happened now is that we have given up a ground that we had won, but we still have to continue fighting that war ».
The truth is that after the decision of Donald Trump After ending the war in Afghanistan there is no longer an open front where US troops are in direct combat. There are 2,500 soldiers who will withdraw from Iraq at the end of the year and 900 in Syria in a mission against Daesh. According to the White House, the priority now will be counterterrorism operations. They are most likely to be carried out with ‘drones’, or unmanned aircraft.