By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – For many who served in Afghanistan, the images are hard to watch.

“Frustration, misbelief that this is actually how it’s happening, how quickly it happened,” said William Kettle. “It’s heartbreaking.”

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Kettle served for a year in Afghanistan helping rebuild the war-torn nation.

“Everybody that served in Afghanistan certainly went there hoping we could give them an opportunity that they never had before, that’s probably the biggest thing that I would be proud of and that I’m most concerned about now,” Kettle said.

When he saw images of the fall of Kabul and the Taliban re-taking the country, he couldn’t help but think about the people he left behind.

“Those girls attended a school that my unit, my organization built, they are probably not going to be attending school anymore. What do their lives look like?” said Kettle. “Primarily concerned about the people, and how we can at least help the people that we can help.”

Kettle was a Navy builder, an engineer who helped build bridges and other structures to help improve the lives of the Afghan people. One, in particular, was close to him.

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“There is an interpreter there that I lost contact with him over the past month, so fingers crossed, but he’s been silent online and social media,” Kettle said.

While it’s all hard to process, Kettle believes this is not the time to assign blame.

“Certainly it’s easy to point fingers, like I said I don’t think that’s really appropriate, I don’t want to engage in it,” Kettle said.

What he does hope to do is help the Afghan people who get resettled near Minnesota.

“I would hope that I could be involved somehow with that, just help them out, maybe give them a job, be a mentor or something because they are going to need some help,” Kettle said.

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Kettle says he does not expect things to be good for women and children in Afghanistan now that the Taliban is in control. He also worries how the U.S. withdrawal will affect future relations with allies or potential allies.

Reg Chapman