BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - If President Joe Biden’s plan works, all troops will be brought back from Afghanistan by Sept. 11.
For one veteran from the Coast, it’s time. Khadija St Ann uses pickleball as a medicine to help recover after 23 years in the Army with two tours in Afghanistan. The collaboration between the VA and pickleball coordinator Tom Linenberger has helped physically and mentally.
“This has been an amazing help just to keep my mind off of things that I’ve seen, that I’ve been through, and it’s a time just for me,” she said.
Some of her war experience is not easy to shake. In her first tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2009, she was in charge of combat logistics support for an infantry brigade.
“That was the hardest deployment because we lost 50 soldiers in my brigade alone,” she said. “And that’s a lot.”
Biden plans to bring all the remaining 2,500 troops home on the 20th anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center.
St Ann supports the decision.
“If the mission is complete, why not pull out?” she said.
She believes the mission to make Afghanistan a better country is complete.
“In my heart, I know the mission has been accomplished. I know it has. We’re coming up on 20 years. A lot has been done over there. I’ve been over there twice. From the time I went in 2009 and I went back in 2012, I could see a big difference,” she said.
St Ann is confident that it will be done correctly.
“We don’t skip steps in the military,” she said. “We don’t take shortcuts. Because when you do, that’s when you have things that happen that you don’t want to happen. So, I’m telling you, the commander-in-chief, those generals that are in charge, they’re going to make sure that they do it the best way possible, not only for U.S. troops but for Afghan troops and the civilians over there as well.”
The drawdown is scheduled to being May 1.