An Alabama Army combat veteran who nearly died in Afghanistan criticized President Biden’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan as “disgusting” to watch and a “disheartening” end to the 20 years of sacrifices made by members of the military and others.
Colin Wayne Erwin, a former Army staff sergeant, almost died on May 3, 2012, when a rocket attack on his base in Paktika province blew up a gym with Wayne inside. He suffered severe injury with shrapnel in his legs, nerve damage in his back, and a traumatic brain injury.
Wayne’s long road to recovery began at Bagram Air Base, the massive military hub in Afghanistan that the Biden administration chose to abandon before U.S. citizens and their allies were fully evacuated from the country. It is now under Taliban control.
Now, seeing the chaos and desperation at the Kabul airport – the last remaining way out – has been hard for Wayne to stomach as he thinks Biden’s exit strategy has been incoherent and not fitting for a commander-in-chief.
“He said it’s virtually impossible for Kabul to be taken over,” Wayne told Fox News in an interview. “He had zero concerns. Days later, [here] we are today with Afghani locals throwing babies over to other countries and literally falling hundreds of feet from planes because they have no alternative options. That’s disgusting.”
Wayne cited the more than 6,000 U.S. service members and contractors killed and the nearly one trillion dollars the U.S. spent on Afghanistan in the last 20 years – all for the country to land in Taliban hands once again.
“Twenty years at war was essentially for nothing,” Wayne said. “It’s very disheartening, at a minimum, to know that we were this close to finishing things the right way.”
Wayne wasn’t against troops leaving Afghanistan in general but believes the drawdown could have been handled in a much more orderly way – first by keeping Bagram open for the withdrawal so the American military still had a hub for command and control.
Now he’s concerned for the last remaining troops in Afghanistan charged with getting the citizens out while the Taliban has seized control.
“I’m concerned just for their safety,” Wayne said.
Wayne was discharged from the Army in 2013. Through months of physical therapy and surgery, Wayne managed to not only recover but become a fitness model. In 2016, he set his sights on business and launched Redline Steel, a home furnishing retailer that specializes in steel-made products.
His Alabama-based company was honored this week as one of the fastest growing veteran-owned businesses in America.
Meanwhile, Biden denied that his administration made any mistakes in how it has handled the withdrawal in Afghanistan. In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, the president insisted that no matter what, the situation would have turned into a mess.
“No,” Biden said when asked if it could have been handled better. “The idea that somehow there’s a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don’t know how that happens.”
Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.