Speculation about Saigon rooftop replay in Kabul despite Biden assertion it couldn't happen
State Department provides update on Afghanistan
State Department spokeman Ned Price provides an update on U.S. involvement in Afghanistan as Taliban continue to make gains across the country.
Biden administration and other officials are worried about a replay of the infamous Vietnam War finale on the roof of the Saigon embassy as they move to evacuate American diplomats from Afghanistan, despite Biden’s unequivocal claim that a similar scenario would not unfold.
“American lives are at risk because President Biden still doesn’t have a plan,” said House Armed Services Committee ranking member Mike Rogers, R-Ala. in a statement. “Weeks ago, President Biden promised the American people that we would not have a Saigon moment in Afghanistan. Now, we are watching President Biden’s Saigon moment unfold before us.”
Five unnamed current and former Biden officials told the New York Times that State Department officials are “tense” and “worried” about the safety of American diplomats that the Biden administration is currently attempting to evacuate from Kabul as the Taliban rapidly gains control of the region.
“Several people gloomily revived a comparison that all wanted to avoid: the fall of Saigon in 1975, when Americans stationed at the U.S. Embassy were evacuated from a rooftop by helicopter,” the report stated.
Negotiators have reportedly asked the Taliban not to attack the U.S. Embassy in Kabul if the terror group overtakes the city, threatening foreign aid, The New York Times reported, citing officials.
Last month, President Biden said there was no comparison between the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan and the chaotic exit from Vietnam.
“Mr. President, some Vietnamese veterans see echoes of their experience in this withdrawal in Afghanistan,” Biden was asked by a reporter on July 8.
“Do you see any parallels between this withdrawal and what happened in Vietnam, with some people feeling,” the reporter continued before being cut off by the president.
“None whatsoever,” Biden said. “Zero. What you had is you had entire brigades breaking through the gates of our embassy, six, if I’m not mistaken. The Taliban is not the south — the North Vietnamese army. They’re not — they’re not remotely comparable in terms of capability. There’s going to be no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy … of the United States from Afghanistan. It is not at all comparable. “
Earlier today, Afghanistan’s third-largest city, Herat, located on the border with Iran, fell to the Taliban. The Taliban have also claimed to have seized Kandahar City, the country’s second-largest and the Taliban’s spiritual home.
With no U.S. military forces on the ground and very few assets in the skies, the Pentagon cannot confirm Kandahar has fallen, but officials acknowledge, “It doesn’t look good.”
U.S. military officers at the Pentagon tell Fox News the images of the Taliban taking over Afghanistan are “demoralizing.”
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“This is all melting down in a short period of time,” one U.S. military officer said.
Biden in April pushed back former President Donald Trump’s deadline for a U.S. military withdrawal from May to Sept. 11, and then changed it to the end of August. The withdrawal began in May; by early July, the situation was rapidly deteriorating: The Pentagon on July 9 detailed “concerning advancement” by the Taliban in the wake of the withdrawal.
Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report
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