13 years of war in Afghanistan come to an end - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

13 years of war in Afghanistan come to an end

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) - America's longest war is over.

A ceremony in Kabul, Afghanistan, yesterday marked the end of 13 years of fighting for U.S. troops. 

But not everyone is happy with the decision.

Raymond Harrington deployed to Afghanistan in 2004 with the Iowa National Guard.  His unit was responsible for force protection -- or, in other words, they protected the people building roads, schools and clinics.

"The Taliban destroyed that nation," Harrington said.

But things were good 10 years ago.

"We had that country humming," he said.  He was present for the first democratic elections held in Afghanistan, and said the country was headed in the right direction.

"But when they announced the exit date, I knew it wasn't going to be good," he said.  "I knew the Taliban could just wait us out." 

He said it's tough to see the combat mission come to an end, because he's worried all the progress that was made and sacrifices that were made will be in vain.

"I lost a friend there. He was 22. To see all that lost...it's a bitter pill to swallow," he said.

And while many combat veterans echo similar sentiments, many say they're happy to see a war end that claimed more than 2,300 lives and cost the U.S. more than $1 trillion. 

The ceremony yesterday marked the end of the combat mission, but some 13,500 troops will stay in country to serve in an advisory role to Afghanistan's army and police.
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