AIEA (HawaiiNewsNow) – Nearly 25,000 American soldiers have died in Afghanistan, including about a dozen Hawaiian residents.
Army 1st Lt. Jonathan Brostrom from Aiea was one of them. He was killed in an enemy attack during the Battle of Wanat in 2008.
His father believes soldiers like his son did not get enough support from the US administration, which spanned four presidential administrations from George W. Bush to Joe Biden.
“We just thought we could defeat the Taliban with a small number of soldiers and a lack of resources. And it didn’t happen, ”said David Brostrom at his home in Aiea full of memories of Jonathan.
“He was proud to serve his country and he loved the army.”
Jonathan Brostrom graduated from Damien Memorial School in 2002 and the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 2006. He was only 24 years old when he and eight other soldiers were killed in an attack on their outpost.
David Brostrom now observes the American troop withdrawal and the return of the Taliban in Afghanistan with disappointment.
“Because my son died and we made this sacrifice, it was just heartbreaking,” he said. “But it’s also very embarrassing for the US that something like this should happen.”
Brostrom believes American troops should have stayed longer to build lasting democracy in the country. Troop withdrawal over the years, however, sent a different message.
“We always tried to get out and we always sent this message to the Taliban, which encouraged them because they knew we would go,” Brostrom said.
He remains proud of his son’s sacrifice.
“My son did not die trying to defend an Afghan government,” he said. “That was the bigger mission, but he didn’t think about that when he was attacked. He tried to save his soldiers. “
But how the war ends leaves a bitter aftertaste.
“For all of the other Gold Star families, I know this is very heartbreaking and involves the veterans and wounded warriors for trying so hard to help Afghanistan.”
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