The voice on the phone from Kandahar Airfield sounded exhausted and resigned, as if not much hope was left. Lt. Col. Mohammad Iqbal Nuristani had managed to get the bulk of his stranded commando unit on airplanes to Kabul the night before, but he and about a hundred of his men were still stuck, surrounded by Taliban fighters demanding their surrender. With the government crumbling, it didn’t seem likely that the Afghan air force transport planes were coming back.
“I can’t do anything more, that’s it,” Iqbal told me and the American veteran speaking to him from Seattle, Joshua Rodriguez. He had a deadline from the Taliban fighters who’d taken over parts of the airfield to surrender by midnight, and no ammunition left to fight with or water to drink. His choices: Give up and potentially save the lives of his men, or die fighting. “If it was just me, I know my decision, but it’s a hundred soldiers’ lives,” he said. “I don’t want to make a hundred women widows and a hundred kids orphans.”
Read the full story and more from The Washington Post.