From Saigon To Kabul: US Withdrawal Has Many Drawing Parallels to Vietnam War
The withdrawal of forces by the US in Afghanistan is now being compared to the fall of Saigon on social media.
With the Taliban taking over the country after 20 years and President Ashraf Ghani fleeing, the world is watching Afghanistan which is now staring at a humanitarian crisis.
In a matter of weeks since US troops began to withdraw, the Taliban swept all major cities in Afghanistan and entered Kabul on Sunday, 15 August.
The current crisis is Afghanistan had many drawing parallels to what happened n Vietnam nearly half a century ago, when Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, backed by the United States, fell into communist-ruled North Vietnam two years after the withdrawal of American troops stationed in the region for 19 years.
What Happened in Vietnam?
The Vietnam War, the world's first televised war, was a conflict that killed 58,000 Americans and 2,50,000 Vietnamese and ended with the United States' expulsion from this Southeast Asian country.
The war took place from 1954 to 1975 and was fought between the Communist governments of North and South Vietnam with United states being the principal ally of the latter.
It began at Dien Bien Phu when the North Vietnamese general Wu Yuanjia defeated the French colonial army. 21 years later, that same military leader defeated the Americans from South Vietnam in Saigon.
The Role of US in the Vietnam War
The US under the leadership of President Lyndon Johnson entered the war in 1965. This was after he passed a memorandum from the National Security Agency in November 1963 that allowed the United States to "help the people and government of South Vietnam win their victory".
During its heyday in the country, the United States stationed nearly 5 lakh troops in Vietnam.
After succeeding Johnson in 1969, President Richard Nixon assumed the responsibility of the war.
In January 1973, the United States and North Vietnam signed an agreement, called the 'Paris Peace Agreement', and the United States began to withdraw its troops.
However, in 1974, North Vietnam violated the agreement and resumed its attack on the South.
According to the US State Department website, although most of the US military had left at the time, there were still about 5,000 Americans remaining in the country, including diplomats still working at the US Embassy in Saigon.
Between March and April 1975, the North Vietnamese army occupied more and more southern cities, causing the South Vietnamese to flee collectively.
The North Vietnamese army occupied Saigon on 30 April, 1975, marking the end of the war.
When Saigon fell to the hands of the communists, visuals and images on TV and in newspapers showed that there were large groups of Americans, soldiers and civilians on the roof of the US Embassy waiting to be rescued.
The US evacuated more than 7,000 people in less than 24 hours, including 5,500 Vietnamese.
Vietnam Then, Afghanistan Now: Drawing Parallels
A lot of people took to Twitter to draw parallels between what happened in Saigon in 1975 as helicopters rescued Americans and Vietnamese as thousands of desperate people scaled the embassy’s walls.
However, US Secretary of State Anthony Brinken insisted that the Afghan mission to be 'successful' and refused to compare Kabul to Saigon.
(With Inputs from The Indian Express and The Print)
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