Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Gen. Mark Milley said Wednesday that he has experienced the same emotions all post-9/11 veterans have felt as they’ve watched the Taliban take control of Afghanistan amid a chaotic U.S. withdrawal.

“My pain and anger come from the same as the grieving families, the same as those soldiers that are on the ground,” Milley said at a press conference alongside Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Earlier in the week, Milley posted on Facebook an open letter to all U.S. service members and veterans of the 20-year war.

“To every member of our joint force who fought in operations in Afghanistan, you can hold your head high that we prevented an attack on the United States homeland,” he wrote in the letter co-signed by his senior enlisted advisor, Ramón Colón-López. “To each of you, your service mattered. This is personal to us, and we know it is personal to you.”

DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Brittany A. Chase