‘I have many feelings’

President Joe Biden calls the violent chaos at Kabul airport “stomach-wearing,” but he stands by the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. Biden spoke from the White House on Monday in his first personal remarks since the Taliban over the weekend rolled over an Afghan military and a government that U.S. forces had spent two decades building.

Right now, so many people are trying to help them in Afghanistan, and some of these helpers are affiliated with southeastern Wisconsin.

Moments and acknowledgments fill the home of retired Army Colonel Chris Kolenda in Milwaukee, many from his time in Afghanistan. His memories are both heartwarming and heartbreaking. He said it has been difficult to see what is happening in the country right now.

“It’s been hard sleeping the last couple of nights, honestly,” Kolenda said.

Kolenda made four trips to Afghanistan, from leading troops to advising generals and assisting in peace talks.

“I have a lot of emotions,” he said. “It’s very outrageous to talk to my Afghan friends.”

He said a humanitarian crisis was unfolding and that reforms needed to be made to prevent situations like this.

“I am more angry at the unforced mistakes we have made over the 20 years that brought us to this point,” Kolenda said.

Violence and chaos have broken out in Afghanistan, where people have tried to flee the country.

“It’s a human rights atomic bomb,” said Kimberley Motley, an international human rights lawyer.

Motley has tried to help. She is known locally for her civil rights work, but has spent the last 13 years working in Afghanistan. She last visited in June.

Kimberley broget

She said she has received desperate calls from those who need help.

“It’s extremely scary and intimidating, and honestly it’s even worse now than before we left because we gave them hope,” Motley said.

Hope is something many still cling to while a Taliban takeover is underway.

Kimberley broget

Kimberley broget (Kimberley Motley)

“I try to do everything I can because I have to,” Motley said.


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