VMT students give their opinion on Afghanistan

Luis Sanchez Jr.

The Magnet Tribune surveyed 239 VMT students to gain an insight into their feelings about the Afghanistan conflict, the recent U.S. troop removal and the loss of one of Laredo’s own service members.

Of the 239 students surveyed, 197 were aware of the Afghanistan conflict while 42 did not know about the topic. 

Students and the Laredo community were affected by the news that local Marine Lance Corporal David Lee Espinoza from Rio Bravo was among the 13 U.S. service members killed in a suicide bombing attack outside the Kabul airport in Afghanistan on August 27.

After the attack, Biden said that the lives lost were given in the service of liberty, security and the service of others. 

“Like their fellow brothers and sisters in arms who have died defending our vision and our values in the struggle against terrorism, of the fallen this day, they are part of a great noble company of American heroes,” Biden said. 

He added, “To those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm, know this: We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay. I will defend our interests and our people with every measure at my command.”

The Taliban quickly took over Afghanistan after U.S. troops began removal efforts. 

Within the survey, 210 students thought evacuation efforts should continue while 29 students thought otherwise.

“Our troops were meant to protect our country, not another one,” Senior Lexus Wilkerson said.

A sophomore student stated that it was unfortunate that Afghanistan is in the state that it is, however, it is good that U.S. troops are home.

President Joe Biden announced on April 14 that beginning in May, U.S. troops were going to be removed from Afghan territory.  

“After consulting closely with our allies and partners, with our military leaders and intelligence personnel, with our diplomats and our development experts, with the Congress and the vice president, as well as with [Afghan President Ashraf Ghani] and many others around the world, I concluded that it’s time to end America’s longest war. It’s time for American troops to come home,” the president said.

Espinoza

On Friday, Sept. 10, the body of Espinoza arrived in Laredo where it was met with a supportive community. Laredoans received him by parking on different streets that lined the way towards the Joe Jackson Funeral Home. 

Del Mar Boulevard was lined with Laredo Police, Laredo Firefighters, veterans and civilians holding the U.S. flag and paying their respects when the hearse carrying Espinoza’s body drove by.

Espinoza was later laid to rest on Sunday, September 13.