A former British soldier who served in Afghanistan says veterans have been left feeling let down by politicians as they watch Britain’s exit from a country that claimed the lives of their brothers in arms.
Dean Score, 35, said he had attended 13 military funerals since he left the Army in 2008, including eight friends killed in Afghanistan. The others had taken their own lives.
“I know blokes who did four or five tours of Afghanistan. They were sent there by the Government and thought they were there to do some good.
“We did all that fighting and some of us are still fighting mental wars now on a daily basis. Thousands of men and women are struggling with their mental health today.
“But it just feels as though it was all for nothing. Afghanistan has just been handed back to the Taliban. What has been achieved apart from destroying the families of more than 450 British personnel who died?”
Mr Score, who also served in Iraq, said: “It stings because I lost a lot of good mates. My best mate was killed on the tour after I left and I watched his coffin come off the plane at Brize Norton.
“I’ll never forget the stuff that happened to me, but that’s my lasting memory of Afghanistan.
“I feel for the families. His fiancée was eight months pregnant when he died. He’ll never see his daughter. She’ll never meet him.
“It’s the things like that really hurt. He believed in bringing democracy to Afghanistan.”
Mr Score is learning to become a mental health counsellor to help other veterans after he received what he says was life-saving support from Combat Stress, the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health.
In the decade after he returned home from Afghanistan in 2007, he had nightmares every night.
More than 250 serving and former personnel have died from suicide since 2018, but the number is only an estimate as the Ministry of Defence does not record veterans’ deaths.
“It feels like the Government doesn’t want to know,” Mr Score said. “It’s like, ‘You’re home now, and you’re alive.’ But I know veterans who served in Afghanistan who are really struggling at the minute.
“We signed an oath to protect and serve and I would like to think that oath of allegiance works both ways. They sent us there to fight, but it’s as though we’re now being left to destroy ourselves.
“If some form of stability was brought to Afghanistan, you could say there was a result. We put up a hell of a fight while we were there, but it feels now as though the Taliban were just allowed to walk into Kabul. We should have done so much more.”
Originally Appeared Here