In July 2021, Colonel Matt Hardman deployed on short notice to support 10th Mountain Division operations in Afghanistan. As the country started to fall to Taliban forces, he served as chief of staff at United States Forces–Afghanistan while also commanding elements of his brigade. Having taken command during COVID-19 and shortly thereafter enduring two hurricanes, Hardman and his soldiers were no strangers to chaos and uncertainty. The rapid collapse of Afghanistan, however, was a challenge for them all.

Tasked with providing security at the US embassy in Kabul as well as at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Hardman’s troop were stretched thin as thousands of Afghans tried to escape the country. With other elements of his brigade running temporary safe haven sites in Kuwait and Qatar, Colonel Hardman needed to rely on the trust he’d built with his subordinates and elements of mission command in an increasingly uncertain and precarious time.

This is the second part of a two-episode series with Hardman. The first episode examines his role as a company command tour in Babil, Iraq. Listen to this episode below and don’t forget to subscribe to The Spear on Apple PodcastsStitcherSpotifyTuneIn, or wherever you get your podcasts. While you’re there, please take a moment to give the podcast a rating or leave a review.

Image credit: Sgt. Isaiah Campbell