News / USA

    Soldiers Pick US Presidential Candidates With Afghanistan in Mind

    Sergeant Devin Burgett of Iowa City, Iowa, who served in Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011, says he would back a candidate who supports staying in Afghanistan to try to help the Afghan people.
    Sergeant Devin Burgett of Iowa City, Iowa, who served in Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011, says he would back a candidate who supports staying in Afghanistan to try to help the Afghan people.

    While polls show that most Iowans had the U.S. economy on their minds when they participated in Monday's caucuses to choose a candidate for president, one group of caucus watchers was picking candidates with a different issue in mind.

    Five thousand of Iowa's National Guard troops have served in Afghanistan since the U.S. went to war there after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. And it has changed the perspective of many of them.

    Sergeant Devin Burgett served in Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011 with Company B, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment of the Iowa National Guard. He was stationed in the east of the country in Torkham Gate, an area close to the Pakistani border. He also served in eastern Laghman province.   

    Burgett, who lives in Iowa City, said he would back a candidate who supports staying in Afghanistan to try to help the Afghan people.  

    “I would be happy to see a candidate who would win that shows appreciation to Afghans," he said, "because a lot of Afghans helped the U.S. and I think we owe it to them. I would be happy to see someone who would show a little gratitude to the people who fought alongside us in Afghanistan.”

    Last year in October, President Barack Obama announced that American troops would remain in Afghanistan at the current level of 9,800 throughout 2016 as part of Resolute Support Mission. The plan had been to reduce that number this year, but because of Taliban advances, Obama postponed cutting troops to 5,500 until 2017.

    Sergeant Clayton Embre, far right, and Sergeant Devin Burgett, second from right, pose with comrades.
    Sergeant Clayton Embre, far right, and Sergeant Devin Burgett, second from right, pose with comrades.

    Listening to generals

    Sergeant Clayton Embre, who served alongside Burgett in Afghanistan, identified himself as a Republican.

    “I am a Republican and will vote for the Republican Party. I like John Kasich and Ben Carson,” Embre told VOA.

    He said national security and the economy were the most important things for him during the election season. On the issue of fighting the Islamic State group and terrorism, he said neither of his favorite GOP candidates has the necessary solutions to deal with that problem.     

    “Neither one of them knows exactly what to do and what they should do,” Embre said. “Obviously, they are smart enough to listen to generals and other people, and they will surround themselves with intelligent and smart people and do what they say.”

    Sayed Monib, an Afghan interpreter who served with Embre’s unit in Afghanistan, lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He found the primary process in Iowa interesting and told VOA that he was looking forward to being able to vote one day.  

    Only U.S. citizens can vote, and it can be a long process to become a citizen. Serving with the National Guard offers expedited citizenship.

    Awaiting citizenship

    Another interpreter who served with Iowa National Guard’s 168th Infantry Regiment told VOA that he is closely following the elections in the U.S.  

    “I would like to vote as an American one day. I consider myself part of America and am looking forward to my citizenship. I have a green card now and will soon vote,” Nabi Mohammadi said.

    He drew a comparison between U.S. and Afghan elections: “Unlike Afghanistan, it’s a very transparent and clear process here. You get the results quicker here.”

    Mohammadi has survived four attacks on his life — two improvised explosive device attacks and two rocket attacks — while serving with the U.S military in Afghanistan.  He was in short-term disability for four months when the vehicle he was traveling in ran over an IED in Afghanistan.

    Now he is living what he considers the American dream in Des Moines, Iowa, with his two kids and wife. He bought a house and studies information technology at Des Moines Area Community College.  

    Another Afghan, Sayed Mansoor Afzali, is a Fulbright student at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, where he now lives. He told VOA that he was very excited about the primary process as voters’ energy and enthusiasm reminded him of Afghanistan’s 2014 presidential elections, where he said Afghanistan demonstrated the same level of passion.  

    Afzali added that “I am truly lucky to be living in the U.S. at such an important and eventful time.”

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Richard
    February 05, 2016 1:21 PM
    Interestingly, 80% of armed forces personnel, including National Guard and Reserves, and 70-75% of veterans voted for conservative candidates in election cycles since 2008. These young Americans and the foreign natiomals who served with them on the front lines of the Global War on Terror are more tuned in to national defense, foreign policy needs and world events than their homebound counterparts who are more focused on getting student loans waived and the legalization of pot.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora