Paralympic gold medalist blinded during conscription in Afghanistan questions US war on terror

Paralympic gold medalist blinded during conscription in Afghanistan questions US war on terror, says ‘mistakes of the past 20 years’ don’t justify staying

  • Brad Snyder, a gold medal-winning US Paralympian who went blind while serving in the navy in Afghanistan, questions the ‘war on terror’
  • Speaking to CNN, 37-year-old Snyder said the thought of the Taliban retaking power in the country keeps him up at night.
  • However, Snyder does not believe that the US should stay in Afghanistan
  • Snyder became the first American man to win an Olympic or Paralympic triathlon gold, finishing alongside sighted guide Greg Billington in 1:01:16
  • He also won Paralympic gold as a swimmer in London (2012) and Rio (2016)
  • Snyder, who served with the Navy’s elite bomb disposal squad, went blind in 2011 in Afghanistan when he stepped on an improvised explosive device.


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Brad Snyder, a gold medal-winning US Paralympian who was blind while serving in the Navy in Afghanistan, questions America’s decades-long “war on terror” as he cheers on its withdrawal from the country.

“It teases me, it keeps me up at night and I think about it a lot, especially as someone whose life has been fundamentally changed by going to Afghanistan,” Snyder said. CNN of the war on terror after his gold medal victory at the Paratriathlon in Tokyo on Saturday.

Snyder, who has served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, said there is “overriding sadness” over the return of the Taliban to power, but acknowledged that the US could not stay “forever” in the country.

Brad Snyder, from the United States, and his guide Greg Billington celebrate after winning the Men's PTV1 Triathlon at Odaiba Marine Park at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games0

Brad Snyder, from the United States, and his guide Greg Billington celebrate after winning the Men’s PTV1 Triathlon at Odaiba Marine Park at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games0

Brad Snyder and Team United States guide Greg Billington exit the swim podium during the PTVI Men's Triathlon on Day 4 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Odaiba Marine Park

Brad Snyder and Team United States guide Greg Billington exit the swim podium during the PTVI Men's Triathlon on Day 4 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Odaiba Marine Park

Brad Snyder and Team United States guide Greg Billington exit the swim podium during the PTVI Men’s Triathlon on Day 4 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Odaiba Marine Park

Snyder was permanently blinded in Afghanistan in 2011 when he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED). The old CNN that he considers himself lucky to be alive. “Luckily I was alone when I was injured so it only hit me and luckily it exploded at close range in front of me…which largely saved my life and saved my limbs,” he said.

Snyder (left) became the first American man to win an individual Olympic or Paralympic triathlon, finishing the course alongside sighted guide Greg Billington in 1:01:16.  The 37-year-old Nevada native previously won six gold medals as a swimmer at the 2012 London Games and the 2016 Rio Games

Snyder (left) became the first American man to win an individual Olympic or Paralympic triathlon, finishing the course alongside sighted guide Greg Billington in 1:01:16.  The 37-year-old Nevada native previously won six gold medals as a swimmer at the 2012 London Games and the 2016 Rio Games

Snyder (left) became the first American man to win an individual Olympic or Paralympic triathlon, finishing the course alongside sighted guide Greg Billington in 1:01:16. The 37-year-old Nevada native previously won six gold medals as a swimmer at the 2012 London Games and the 2016 Rio Games

“When you’re on the ground in Afghanistan, you can see very clearly the negativity that comes with the Taliban rule — the way women are treated, the way the villages are responding to the idea of ​​the Taliban,” Snyder said. That said, we can’t be there forever, and unless we go all out in a way that we haven’t done in the past 20 years, the mistakes of the past 20 years don’t justify future investment in my view.

“And so I applaud the decisions that have been made to change course and change our strategy in Afghanistan.

Snyder became the first American man to win an individual Olympic or Paralympic triathlon, finishing the course alongside sighted guide Greg Billington in 1:01:16. The 37-year-old Nevada native previously won six gold medals as a swimmer at the 2012 London Games and the 2016 Rio Games.

Snyder served in the Navy for seven years

Snyder served in the Navy for seven years

Snyder served in the Navy for seven years

He was permanently blinded in Afghanistan in 2011 when he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED).

Snyder told CNN that he considers himself lucky to be alive.

“Luckily I was alone when I was injured so it only hit me and luckily it exploded at close range in front of me…which largely saved my life and saved my limbs,” he said.

As Snyder sees it, he wasn’t fighting for the Afghan people, but for “human rights” and “the concept of freedom, the concept of freedom.”

“And that sacrifice, that fight is still alive, that fight is something we will fight long after I’m gone,” he said.

Snyder is currently studying for a PhD in Public Policy at Princeton, according to CNN, and hopes to return to the US Naval Academy to prepare cadets for the “fights of tomorrow.”

Snyder won gold on Saturday along with compatriot Allysa Seely, who defended her first gold medal.

Prince Harry helps light the flame with US Paralympic Lieutenant Brad Snyder (left) as he attends the opening ceremony of the Warrior Games during the third day of his visit to the United States on May 11, 2013 in Colorado Springs, Colorado

Prince Harry helps light the flame with US Paralympic Lieutenant Brad Snyder (left) as he attends the opening ceremony of the Warrior Games during the third day of his visit to the United States on May 11, 2013 in Colorado Springs, Colorado

Prince Harry helps light the flame with US Paralympic Lieutenant Brad Snyder (left) as he attends the opening ceremony of the Warrior Games during the third day of his visit to the United States on May 11, 2013 in Colorado Springs, Colorado

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