Afghanistan veteran says he lost both legs and an arm 'for nothing' as Taliban takes Kabul

16 August 2021, 14:19 | Updated: 16 August 2021, 16:39

Jack Cummings, Afghanistan veteran, lost both legs and his left arm while serving in the country
Jack Cummings, Afghanistan veteran, lost both legs and his left arm while serving in the country. Picture: Twitter

By Elizabeth Haigh

A former British soldier says that his and others' sacrifices in Afghanistan were "probably not" worth it after the Taliban took control of Kabul.

In a series of tweets, former royal engineer Jack Cummings expressed his horror and anger at the rapidly unfolding events in Afghanistan, saying they are "heartbreaking".

He wrote: "Was it worth it, probably not. Did I lose my legs for nothing, looks like it. Did my mates die in vain. Yep."

How did the UK’s involvement in Afghanistan begin?

Mr Cummings was one of many soldiers from the UK sent to Afghanistan in the wake of the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center, as part of a US-led coalition.

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455 UK soldiers died in the conflict, with many more injured. Mr Cummings lost both legs and his left arm in action.

Mr Cummings said he feels "anger, betrayal, [and] sadness" among many other emotions as the government in Afghanistan collapsed.

He added that he can only "keep positive I’m alive". He also expressed thanks to the NHS and army doctors who took care of him following his injuries.

He criticised PM Boris Johnson and President of the United States Joe Biden for claiming that troops’ sacrifices were not in vain: "you say that face to face with a grieving wife or mum."

In recent days and weeks the Taliban, the regime which the US-led coalition removed from power after 2001, have all but taken over Afghanistan, surrounding and entering the country’s capital, Kabul, on Sunday.

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Thousands of desperate Afghan citizens have rushed to the city’s airport in a bid to escape, and US soldiers have fired shots into the air to try and regain control. There are reports on social media that several people have been killed at the scene.

The removal of the Taliban regime by western powers abolished governance based on an extreme version of Sharia law, and granted women rights to work and attend schools and universities.

There are fears that the Taliban’s recent success will lead to the reversal of these rights, leading to punishments such as stoning to death and limb amputations for criminal acts. There are also reports that in areas taken over by the militant group, women are already required to wear burkas and are unable to leave the house without being accompanied by a male relative.