Re: “More than 600 Afghans cram into one U.S. transport flight, as thousands flee the Taliban” [Aug. 17, World]: The events of the past few days in Kabul have struck me in the heart like few happenings in the past 50 years. As a former rescue helicopter pilot in Vietnam I was shocked and angered by the photos of terrified Afghans wagering their lives for a chance to cling to an American airplane and safety.

Something went wrong in the offices of the Department of Defense, the White House and the Afghan government during the planned exit of our troops. Afghanistan had weaponry, militarily trained personnel and motivation to prevent this tragedy.

Now is the time for the UN to come forth and eradicate this scourge. If you need me, I’ll be on the first plane to the Middle East.

Richard Cardwell, Seattle