American military helicopters have been filmed evacuating US embassy staff in Kabul, with multiple aircraft shuttling to and from the compound. The footage invoked striking similarities with the 1975 retreat from Vietnam’s Saigon.
At least two CH-47 Chinook tandem rotor heavy transport helicopter has been spotted at the compound, making the footage seem eerily similar to that shot in South Vietnam in April 1975, amid the hasty evacuation of US diplomatic staff as the capital city of Saigon fell. Back then, helicopters of that type were landing on the embassy’s roof to pick up diplomats as North Vietnamese troops were closing in onto the capital.
*Vietnam flashbacks* : Americans flee Kabul in choppers like it’s 1975
— RT (@RT_com) August 15, 2021
Both US President Joe Biden and now Antony Blinken have rejected any similarities between the hasty pullouts. On Sunday, Blinken was directly asked whether the Kabul withdrawal would become Biden’s “Saigon moment.” Speaking to ABC, he responded by saying it was “manifestly not Saigon.”
Two iconic images clicked 45 years apart. The US Embassy staff fleeing from Saigon (top) and Kabul (bottom).
Never trust a friend who leaves you saying he'll be back – Old Vietnamese saying. pic.twitter.com/AIItm8aReA
— Anand Ranganathan (@ARanganathan72) August 15, 2021
“Remember, this is not Saigon. We went to Afghanistan 20 years ago with one mission and that mission was to deal with the folks who attacked us on 9/11. And we have succeeded in that mission,” Blinken told CNN.
Jake Tapper to Blinken: "President Biden is intent on avoiding a Saigon moment… but with this troop surge to air lift Americans out of Afghanistan, aren’t we already in the midst of a Saigon moment?" pic.twitter.com/SRmb6j4N4e
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) August 15, 2021
Others found the Vietnam vibes of the ongoing retreat even more embarrassing, however, given that Biden had explicitly promised that the withdrawal from Afghanistan would not turn into another fall of Saigon.
The US president insisted early in July that the Taliban’s capabilities were “not remotely comparable” to the North Vietnamese forces and no hasty retreat would happen.
US airlift evacuations begin as the Taliban sacks Kabul, Afghanistan on August 14th, 2021, just weeks after Biden promised Kabul wouldn't become another Vietnam Fall of Saigon.
— Alexander Higgins (@kr3at) August 15, 2021
There’s going to be no circumstance when you’re going to see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy of the United States from Afghanistan.
The Afghan government seemed to have effectively collapsed on Sunday, when Taliban forces entered the outskirts of Kabul. The militants called for negotiations, claiming they wanted to avoid an unnecessary battle for the city and the loss of civilian lives.