ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – The world continues to watch the crisis unfold in Afghanistan. Among the many viewers are countless veterans of the United States Armed Forces.

Lance Cpl. Evan Sandefur is among them. He served with the United States Marine Corps between 2007 and 2013 and was based in Iraq and Afghanistan. He says it is extremely tough for him and others who have served to watch the Taliban take over the area they once protected.

“For the last like three days, it’s been nothing but us calling buddies, buddies calling us,” Sandefur said.

“It’s definitely been hard. Some sleepless nights, definitely. You’re definitely thinking about everything that happened, you know,” Sandefur added. “You go over there, you leave your family and friends, and you definitely come back a different person but you hope you did some good over there. Everybody knew the war was ending and everybody wanted the troops home, but to see it fall within just a couple of days of leaving hit hard.”

Some families of the fallen are now questioning the sacrifices made.

“I’ve had buddies who we lost when we were over there and their families are like my son died for nothing,” Sandefur said. “The thing that hit me the most was I was scrolling through Facebook looking at articles and stuff and a buddy of mine who had been killed, his mom had put on there my son died in vain like this was for nothing.”

Sitting at the helm of the Roanoke nonprofit organization, Blue Ridge Literacy, is Ahoo Salem. The executive director says she has also been keeping a close eye on the situation in Afghanistan.

“I’m from Iran, so we are a neighboring country. Of course, this is something that I’ve been following for quite a while,” said Salem.

The organization helps adults better their reading and writing skills. Salem says Blue Ridge Literacy has a lot of learners from Afghanistan who are worried about their loved ones.

According to Sandefur, he would like for the United States to “do the American thing and take care of the people we promised to take care of.”

He says there were some Afghans who were allies of the U.S. and aided American military men and women. He would like to see those people rescued from the destruction being caused by the Taliban.

Meanwhile, Sandefur is encouraging all veterans and families of fallen veterans to stay strong and lean on one another.

We did our job. We served our country,” Sandefur said. “Stay strong. Reach out to each other and make sure you’ve got each others’ backs.”

The Commonwealth Catholic Charities is asking for donations to help Afghan families who will be arriving in the Roanoke area. They are asking people to purchase and donate a suggested kit, which can be found by clicking here.

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