‘Nobody Should Be Shocked’ By New Report About How The Public Was Misled During The War In Afghanistan, One Colorado Veteran Says

December 11, 2019
1st Sgt David Gill from Alliance, Oh of the OMLT Team Orthos from 1-145AR RGT, left, and Hungarian military adviser SFC Otto Szatmari, right, look at a hill while searching for pro-Taliban fighters near Kuk Cenar, Baghlan province of northern Afghanistan, Wednesday, July 8, 2009.1st Sgt David Gill from Alliance, Oh of the OMLT Team Orthos from 1-145AR RGT, left, and Hungarian military adviser SFC Otto Szatmari, right, look at a hill while searching for pro-Taliban fighters near Kuk Cenar, Baghlan province of northern Afghanistan, Wednesday, July 8, 2009.Bela Szandelszky/AP Photo
U.S troops walk at their base in Afghanistan in 2018.

In 2013, Sgt. Liam Nevins of Colorado died in combat in Afghanistan one month before he was scheduled to come home. 

More than six years later, his mother Victoria Nevins said she is not surprised by the The Washington Post’s new report detailing how U.S. officials failed to be transparent about the war in Afghanistan.

Several Colorado veterans and families of soldiers have shared similar sentiments with CPR News.

The Post's investigation reveals that the government misled the public on the progress it claimed to be making during the conflict. The war in Afghanistan began in 2001, and it’s now the longest armed conflict in U.S. history.

Despite losing her son, Nevins said she does not blame the troops for the issues that have come to light.

“I am very committed to supporting them,” Nevins said. “If the military is being misdirected on certain fronts, that is not the military. That is an issue within politics.”

The Pentagon released a statement Monday saying there was no intent to mislead Congress or the public.

Nevins said her son felt uneasy about the goals of the war during his first Army deployment in Afghanistan, close to the Pakistan border, right after 9/11, and he shared frustrations in between deployments.

“He was a confident soldier, but he knew some things were not always correctly dealt with,” Nevins said. “He didn’t question them, but it concerned him. He felt strongly that they could have possibly ended (the war) a lot sooner.”

Liam went on to serve several tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan over the next decade. In 2009, he enlisted in the Colorado National Guard. He was killed with two other soldiers in 2013, when a gunman dressed in an Afghan National Security Force uniform attacked them.

“He respected the military, loved his country, and he always took the view that he was there for his brothers,” Nevins said. “That was his priority.”

Tyler Wilson was deployed to Afghanistan in 2005. After a firefight with insurgents left him paralyzed from a gunshot wound, he returned home to Colorado.

Courtesy of Crystal Wilson
Tyler Wilson, left, served in Afghanistan for two months in 2005 before he was shot and paralyzed during combat.

“I’ve always said that the strategy being used in Afghanistan wouldn’t work,” Wilson said. “There was no long-term strategy put in place. Nobody should be shocked by this revelation.”

Wilson also pointed to a big disconnect between soldiers and military leaders at the Pentagon.

“Trying to spin political opinions for varying agendas,” he said. “It’s been around in pretty much every conflict, like in Vietnam.”

Nearly 15 years after his deployment, Wilson is a student and lives in Golden with his wife, Crystal, and their two sons.

“If they decide to join the military, yes we will support them,” she said. “But we’re going to be frank, honest and open with them. Public perception is not always accurate.”