Understanding why the longest American war continues to drag on

SEATTLE - It was a dignified transfer for a local soldier killed in Afghanistan.

Leavenworth native Sgt. Leandro Jasso's remains arrived at Dover, Delaware on Monday.

And on Tuesday the military confirmed the 25 year-old Army ranger was accidentally shot by an Afghan partner force while fighting Al-Qaeda shooters.

“It makes me want to pay attention and know more about what's happening,” Jasso’s former teacher Andrea Brixey said.

Jasso's death is deeply affecting many in Leavenworth. At Cascade High School Brixey says her students are asking a lot of questions.

“There are 32 kids sitting in my classroom every hour asking where are they? Why are they there?" Brixey said. "That's a hard question to answer."

It's the kind of question military expert Mike Schindler says we are not asking enough anymore.

“If you ask the average American how many people, troops are serving in Afghanistan, they wouldn’t really know the answer to that. The answer to that is 14,000,” Schindler said.

In 2014, when the US started pulling troops out of Afghanistan, the mission changed.

U.S. forces are now training the Afghan military to fight on their own soil.

But the secondary role does not mean the danger is any less.

“Every day they are in danger. Every day. When we pulled troops out in 2014, violence increased and now the Taliban is, what, they say roughly in 70% of Afghanistan,” Schindler said.

That reminder is hitting home hard this week.

Three American service members were killed in a roadside bombing in Ghazni city Tuesday.

The special forces soldiers were there to save a city from falling to the Taliban.

“It's not a story that's front and center,” Schindler said.

Schindler says we should at least understand why the longest war is dragging on.

“Here we are 17 years later, it's  such a tribal community I just don’t know how you would win,” Schindler said.

Yet he says it’s vital for US troops to continue the fight so if he could answer the questions from those students at Cascade High School this is what he would say.

“We are isolating the conflict. If we were to remove it, my guess is the conflict would come home. We don’t have to feel sorry for those that are serving we just have to be grateful that they are there,” Schindler said.

Less than 1 percent of Americans serve in the military and that’s why Schindler says often times many of us are not thinking about the service and sacrifice of those in the military everyday because most of us do not have a loved one on the front-lines of war.