Biden Wants to Avoid ‘Saigon Moment’ in Afghanistan Amid Rise in Violence, Report Says
06:15 GMT 14.08.2021 (Updated: 13:22 GMT 06.08.2022)
© AP Photo / Sgt. Justin UpdegraffThis June 10, 2017 photo provided by Operation Resolute Support, U.S. Soldiers with Task Force Iron maneuver an M-777 howitzer, so it can be towed into position at Bost Airfield, Afghanistan
© AP Photo / Sgt. Justin Updegraff
Earlier this week, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said that 3,000 US troops would be deployed to Afghanistan to facilitate the withdrawal of American Embassy staff in Kabul amid the Taliban’s* ongoing offensive on the Afghan capital.
Washington’s “dramatic” move to send troops to Afghanistan to help with the drawdown of the American Embassy in Kabul is another sign that President Joe Biden is keen to avoid a so-called “Saigon moment” now that the Taliban continues to seize more Afghan provinces, CNN has cited an unnamed diplomatic source as saying.
The source apparently referred to the capture of Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, by the People's Army of Vietnam on 30 April 1975. The event marked the end of the 1955-1975 Vietnam War, a military conflict between North Vietnam, supported by China and the Soviet Union, and South Vietnam, backed by the US and its allies.
© REUTERS / MOHAMMAD ISMAILAfghan soldiers stand guard at the gate of Bagram U.S. air base, on the day the last of American troops vacated it, Parwan province, Afghanistan July 2, 2021.
Afghan soldiers stand guard at the gate of Bagram U.S. air base, on the day the last of American troops vacated it, Parwan province, Afghanistan July 2, 2021.
As far as Afghanistan is concerned, deploying several thousand US troops to the Southeast Asian country means that US administration officials have come to realise the possibility of a collapse of the Afghan government and that “the fallout for its citizens could threaten to become a permanent stain on Biden's foreign policy legacy”, CNN reported.
The news network quoted the source as saying that the view of some US allies remains that Biden's “withdrawal decision and subsequent doubling down [in the face of the Taliban’s increasing military activities] is based largely on domestic political considerations rather than the ultimate fate of Afghanistan itself”.
Karim Sadjadpour, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, for his part warned that the situation may backfire on the Biden administration.
“Withdrawing from Afghanistan was supposed to give Biden more attention to focus on China. The reality is that the resulting civil war or Taliban takeover in Afghanistan is going to require far more of his attention than it did before”, he told CNN.
The remarks came after Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said on Friday that the Department of Defence’s decision to send several thousand US troops to Afghanistan is “prudent preparation”, which should help tackle any worst-case scenario.
On Thursday, the Biden administration decided to send 3,000 troops back to Kabul to assist the State Department with its evacuation of US personnel and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa applicants.
This followed the Taliban seizing 18 of Afghanistan's 34 provincial capitals, including the country's second-biggest city of Kandahar. The militants’ territorial gains come just weeks before US and NATO troops are due to wrap up their withdrawal from the country, which was announced by Biden in mid-April.
*The Taliban, a terrorist group banned in Russia and a number of other countries