The mother of a Marine murdered in a terrorist attack as U.S. forces left Afghanistan in August 2021 blasted President Biden, recalling him interrupting her as she spoke of her grief in order to talk about his own son.
Marine Lance Corporal Kareem Nikoui, the son of Shana Chappell, was killed on August 26, 2021, in a terrorist attack that killed 13 U.S. service members during the chaotic withdrawal ordered by President Biden.
“He interrupted me and started talking about his son. About his son,” Chappell stated in an interview with Townhall. “And I remember looking at him and going, ‘What are you doing?’ And then I said something along the line, ‘This isn’t about your son. This is about my son.’”
“I told him he had no business talking about his son,” she continued. “And then I started again talking about my son, and then he said, ‘I just wanted to let you know how I feel.’”
“At that point, now I’m even more angry because he said he brought up his son because he just wanted to let me know how he feels,” she remembered. “I probably sounded like I didn’t care that he lost a kid and I didn’t mean for it to sound that way. It’s — his son died of cancer, so they had time to be there, spend time with him, tell him goodbye. My son died because of the very man that I was talking to.”
I had the honor of interviewing Shana Chappell, who lost her son LCpl. Kareem Nikoui during the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. During her meeting with Biden at Dover, he interrupted and started talking about his son, Beau:https://t.co/4gBLwD33Rmpic.twitter.com/6H9ejAV5Ii
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) August 24, 2022
“The withdrawal was a complete failure,” Chappell told CNN. “They wanted the disastrous pullout forgotten about and they wanted the 13 that were killed to be forgotten about, mainly because they were so young.”
Chappell recalled the time Kareem as a young child saw a Marine in his uniform. “At a very young age he knew that’s what he wanted to be,” she said. “He looked at them as strong and fearless. Every little boy wants to be strong and fearless.”
At the age of 18, Kareem joined the Marines and was later deployed overseas. Speaking of his death, Shana Chappell said sadly, “As a mom, you think, no, it’s not going to happen to me. It’s not going to happen to my kid.”
Just before the anniversary of Kareem’s death, his 28-year-old brother Dakota Halverson committed suicide. “He started expressing that Kareem’s really gone, that he just wanted to be with him. And how much he misses him and loves him,” Chappell said as she gestured toward Kareem’s headstone. “He’d come up here sometimes and night and sleep here to be with Kareem. He would say it bothers him that Kareem’s here alone.”
“My biggest fear was something happening to one of my kids,” Chappell, who has three younger children, said. “Keeping my kids with me at all times and watching them was how I could make sure nothing was going to happen to them.”
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a free hotline for individuals in crisis or distress or for those looking to help someone else. It is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.