A FORMER Redditch soldier who served in Afghanistan has spoken of his dismay at the collapse of the West’s effort to shore up the country.
Martin Carver – dubbed ‘superman’ for his fundraising efforts in aid of the NHS during the height of the pandemic – was based in Kandahar in 2007-8.
“It’s a nightmare,” said Martin, who served in the Parachute Regiment and is currently battling Covid-19.
“We have a saying in the Army, no plan survives the first moment of contact but I’m stunned at how fast this has all happened without us knowing about it.
“Over the 20 years 454 servicemen and women died in Afghanistan, including friends of mine.
“It’s a very sore point and to think now of all the interpreters and the people who stood by us, the scenes of people clinging to the transport aircraft, some falling to their deaths.
“I never thought I would serve in anything that would end in this way. It’s a debacle.”
Redditch has a proud history of supporting Britain’s military with hundreds regularly attending Armed Forces Day parades and Remembrance Sundays.
Martin, a coach at the Abbey Stadium who has also been fundraising to open the UK’s first walk-in centre for victims of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder added: “We used to call the Taliban ‘Terry’ and now they are back in power.
“Every soldier will have their own memories and thoughts of serving in Afghanistan – we all lost friends out there and I think of everything their families have gone through, and now this.
“It’s a sad time – to put it mildly.”
Redditch MP Rachel Maclean said: “150,000 brave servicemen and women served in Afghanistan during the 20-year conflict, and I’m acutely aware there are veterans from Redditch who are watching what’s unfolding and will be asking themselves whether the sacrifices they and colleagues made were worth it.
“I want them to know that they are at the forefront of my mind.
“It is now essential that the UK and our international partners come together and take a unified approach on Afghanistan, both in terms of the future of the country and in working to prevent a humanitarian and refugee crisis.
“Also at the forefront of my mind are the people of Afghanistan, particularly women, children and Afghans who fought and stood shoulder-to-shoulder with British forces over two decades. We cannot turn our backs on them now, and we won’t.”