FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Two South Florida veterans who served in Afghanistan said more could have been done to prevent the attack on the Kabul airport during the U.S.’s withdrawal from the country.

The two veterans said that although Thursday’s attack on the Kabul airport was upsetting, they are not surprised it happened.

“The worst that I kind of feared had occurred,” retired Army Maj. Chad Maxey said. “I don’t think there was any military person that thought or had any pretense that there wasn’t the possibility of an attack like this.”

More than a dozen American service members and scores of civilians were killed during the suicide attack. It happened as the U.S. finalizes its withdrawal from the country after 20 years.

Maxey served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and retired Army Capt. Ron Aledo worked as an advisor to the Afghan National Police. Neither were surprised more American lives were lost.

Aledo believes keeping at least a contingent of American contractors in the country and a more organized withdrawal could have prevented the chaos.

“I was really frustrated,” Aledo said. “Basically, we left our Afghan brothers and sisters naked. That disorder, that’s a terrible way of doing it without any strategy. That, obviously, was very, very much a factor in this terrible attack of today.”

According to Maxey, the crowds and mayhem of the Kabul airport made it easier for the attacker to blend in to kill as many people as possible.

“They were able to conduct these types of high-profile attacks, even when we had the whole country in Afghanistan, and even when we had all the resources there. Now, we’re much more limited, and they see an opportunity,” he said. “There could have been a strategic way to keep people from going to the airport and instilling some type of fear.”

Both Maxey and Aledo agree the American casualties were likely young and working security at the airport to help fellow Americans and Afghan allies evacuate.

“They were pulled back into Afghanistan due to the disaster that this operation is,” Aledo said. “The whole operation is a complete disaster, a shameful disaster.”

“It is a noble cause to protect those who cannot protect themselves,” Maxey said. “There’s an active mission going on, so they will not be able to sit back and think about their fallen comrades. They’re going to have to continue the mission.”

The identities of the American casualties at the Kabul airport have not yet been released.

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