News of a potential ceasefire by the Taliban has given hope to ending the nearly two decade old war in Afghanistan. But not everyone is convinced.
Her Excellency, Roya Rahmani, is Afghanistan's first female ambassador to the United States. “Forty years of war has left us with deep wounds,” said Rahmani. “It needs recovery.”
“This is the very legitimate demand of our people. Stop killing us to start with,” she added.
Former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin agreed.
“We have to be willing to say no and to continue to stand up for our principles if we're not able to reach that type of agreement. We can't just simply get up and leave,” said Shulkin.
The Embassy of Afghanistan recently partnered with the Independence Fund to host children of American veterans as well as children of Afghans living in the U.S. Army Major Adam Armstrong served in Afghanistan and brought his children.
“I hope this will make it more personal for them so they can understand what, you know, Afghan children are living lives over there just like they are here,” said Armstrong.
Navy SEAL and Purple Heart recipient Kristin Beck was wounded in Afghanistan and was among the group of veterans the ambassador thanked.
“It's a welcome home from Afghanistan,” said Beck. “It heals us, it heals them, and it really shows how good we can be to each other if we just gave each other a chance.”
Sarah Verardo is CEO of the Independence Fund, committed to helping the nation’s catastrophically wounded in combat. Her husband was wounded in Afghanistan. He recently endured his 120th surgery.
“We know that for the wounded veteran and that family,” said Verardo, “the road home from war is lifelong.”
Verardo recently wrote Hero at Home, inspired by her family's personal journey, with three young daughters and a severely wounded husband.
“I wrote Hero at Home to really try to explain my husband's injuries and the thousands of veterans who live with our wartime injuries to a young population that doesn't understand why some veterans may have robot legs or have special wheelchairs,” said Verardo.
The Independence Fund and Ambassador Rahmani hope bringing these children together during uncertain times give them perspective and a greater understanding.
“It's important to realize and recognize the contribution that their parents have made, said Rahmani. “Empathy is the language they need to develop and they need to understand for a better and more peaceful world for one another.”