As many as 25 youths from Kendrapara district of Odisha who worked at the US army base camps in Afghanistan returned home three months ago following the withdrawal of American troops from the war-torn nation which has now plunged into chaos after Taliban takeover.
On Wednesday OTV caught up with one of the returnees, Manoranjan Sahoo, who worked as a Property Specialist at one of the US army's base camps in Bagram, in the Parwan Province of Afghanistan. The place is about 25 kilometers north of Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan.
Recounting his experience of Taliban brutality during his stay in Afghanistan, Sahoo said, “Everyone is aware of the atrocities committed by the Taliban. Though I used to a draw good salary, but there used to be a constant fear of attack by Taliban. We lived in a perpetual state of fear as the army camps were repeatedly attacked and bombed by them."
"I worked as a Property Specialist and given the responsibility of issuing safety items like safety vests, shoes, helmets etc to the maintenance staff at the base, and placing orders for the same as and when required," he said.
There were seven American military bases in the country and I used to work at the Bagram airfield near Kabul which is now under the control of Taliban. I have seen many deaths and injuries caused due to their attacks during my stay there, he recalled.
Sahoo, along with others in the group, returned to Odisha three months ago. “The present situation in Afghanistan is very miserable,” he stated.
Notably, hours after the Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, fled the country on Sunday, the Taliban seized control of Kabul, capturing the seat of power nearly 20 years after a US-led military invasion ousted it in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
The present turmoil has forced thousands to flee or seek evacuation to evade Taliban governance in the country.