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Clay County Sheriff recalls past work in Afghanistan as turmoil grips country

Will Akin in Afghanistan
Posted at 9:11 PM, Aug 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-15 00:13:14-04

LIBERTY, Mo. — Will Akin oversees law and order as Sheriff of Clay County and at one time helped instill law and order through his work in Afghanistan.

Akin worked as a contractor in Afghanistan between 2009 to 2012. He worked as a police advisor where he mentored local police in the war-torn country.

"We put blood, sweat and tears into the job we were expected to do over there," Akin said.

Currently, Afghanistan is in turmoil as Taliban insurgents move in and take control of key parts of the country and advance closer to the capital of Kabul.

The Taliban offensive comes after the United States announced the withdrawal of troops. The current outcome doesn't surprise Akin.

"It was just a matter of time, and now look, we've withdrawn and they're gaining property at such a high rate," Akin said.

As the Taliban advances in the country, focus has turned to the Afghan army and local police.

Akin explained during his time in Afghanistan, he noticed that for some officers he encountered, surviving crippling poverty in the country was a bigger priority than fighting.

"We would train up all the Afghan National Police, and a certain percentage would actually go into Iran and sell their I.D. cards because they could get $500-$700 per card," Akin said. "And then we would go to these districts. We would take roll call, and we would ask, 'Hey, is so and so here? Oh, we don't know.'"

As the situation gets worse, Akin thinks about the people he worked with, such as interpreters, who remain in the country.

"I think about all my female counterparts," Akin said. "The investigators that we were working with in the family response unit ... it saddens me to even think about what [is] going to happen to them."

Akin said the Taliban will kill people who have worked with Americans, and he is asking U.S. leaders to find a way to help them and their families leave the country.

"Focus on the ones that helped us," Akin said.