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San Diego veterans react to fall of Kabul with sadness, anger

Posted at 5:55 PM, Aug 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-18 00:38:01-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The immediate fall of Kabul to the Taliban is especially difficult for San Diego veterans to watch.

Amber Robinson is one of them. She completed three tours of duty in Afghanistan as a photojournalist with the Army. She said she's not surprised that the Afghan military couldn't stand up to the Taliban. She said she began having concerns during her first deployment back in 2006.

"It was obvious the training was not taking. We were all, everyone who had gone, and gone back, we were all seeing the same thing," said Robinson.

She said after her third tour, she was completely disillusioned.

"The moment that you kill one Taliban leader, three more Taliban leaders are going to creep across the Pakistan border and take their place," said Robinson.

Eventually, the death and defeat became too much. She left the Army in 2013.

"That's just war, war is death, but by the time my third tour was ending, the deaths were starting to get to me," said Robinson, who photographed many of the memorials. "I photographed a lot of soldiers kneeling in front of the boots, the dog tags of their buddies, crying, angry."

Many of them struggling with their emotions, watching all of their hard work seemingly evaporate in an instant.

"When Kabul fell, we were all triggered. We were all emotional, angry," said Robinson.

Especially heartbreaking, she said, is the fate of Afghan girls and women.

"Two decades providing protection for women, providing protection for girls to go to school, and all of a sudden that protection is gone," said Robinson.

Robinson is studying Journalism at Point Loma Nazarene University. She also founded a non-profit called American History Theatre. The group works to tell the stories of the military through theatre, focusing on PTSD and other veteran issues.

She says the acute stress she experienced left her with PTSD and autoimmune disorders.

"I gave that country my health. I gave that country a good chunk of my mental health as did so many of my buddies, not to mention those who gave their life," she said.

Despite it all, she said she has no regrets.

"I learned what men will do to each other in the midst of war, but I also learned what men will do for each other in the midst of war, that's something I will always be so proud of," Robinson said.