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Father of Utah soldier killed in Afghanistan reacts to President Obama’s announcement on troop levels

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Posted at 9:52 PM, Oct 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-15 23:52:00-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Jim Towse’s son, Cody, was just a boy on September 11, 2001.

“He’s the one who woke us up on 9/11 to tell us a plane had crashed into the tower,” Towse said.

It’s the event that sparked the war in Afghanistan, where Cody eventually lost his life. The 21-year-old was killed by an IED while treating a fellow soldier.

“We're still there," Towse said. "We’re still at war. There are still guys coming home in caskets, but you never see that, and you never hear about it."

On Thursday, we did hear about it when President Barack Obama announced troops will remain in Afghanistan at current levels through next year. It marks another delay in the administration’s plan to withdraw from the 14-year conflict.

Even though Towse wants our country to finish the war his son died for, he wishes our strategy was more focused and our leaders were more decisive.

“If we go to war, we need to go to war," he said. "We need to be warriors not politicians."

According to General Jeff Burton with the Utah National Guard, more than 500 soldiers are already stationed in Afghanistan. A unit just deployed on Sunday, and another is heading out in a few weeks.

“It may affect other units that we’re not aware of at this point, but, again, we train every day and that’s what we do in between conflicts," Burton said. "We train hard so we’re ready when the nation calls us."

After 14 years and several thousand deaths, all this grieving father wants to hear is mission accomplished.

“I just wish we had a purpose," he said. "I wish we had a plan to go in there and liberate. If we’re going to do it, let’s do it and not just go over and have our kids stepping on land mines."

There are currently 9,800 troops serving in Afghanistan. Under the new plan, the number of military personnel will drop to 5,500 by 2017.