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Saigon, 1975. In March, the CIA had assured that South Vietnam would resist the communist siege for another year. A month later, helicopters evacuated Americans from the roof of the embassy. Not all South Vietnamese who collaborated with the United States were so lucky. The U.S., wrongly predicting the future, tried to evacuate tens of thousands. The rest were left at the mercy of the bloodthirsty Viet Cong.
The fall of Saigon was the end of a tragic story. At a gigantic cost, the Vietnam War ended up being one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. military history. Not because it started, but because the Americans failed and the toll was so high.
46 years later, the episode is repeating itself 4627 kilometers northwest of Saigon. After three presidents had promised the end of a war they were never winning, Kabul fell into the hands of the terrorists, which meant, in short, a reality check. From day one, the White House promised the Americans that their boys on the Asian front were not dying in vain and that the Taliban, those who from the government assisted Al Qaeda in bringing down the Twin Towers, would announce their surrender at any moment.
This never happened. The Taliban grew stronger and returned in a sort of lightning operation that suddenly took control of Afghanistan. It is the response to the abrupt and irresponsible withdrawal of the remaining American troops still on Afghan soil. As Jonah Goldberg wrote: “You can believe that getting out of Afghanistan is the right policy––again, I have friends whom I respect who believe that––while also understanding that this was a terrible way to get out of Afghanistan.”
One journalist’s anguish adds to that of thousands who know that under the Taliban, at the very least, they will lose their freedoms: “I’m hopelessly stuck in Kabul with my wife and child. Like myself, hundreds of other journalists are also stuck here. I have an 11—months old daughter. Please pray for her safety.”
“They do not want us to escape,” an Afghan interpreter told The Atlantic. These last few hours have been a nightmare for him, his pregnant wife and their child. He barely managed to get a U.S. visa so he could flee, but it’s too late. There are no plane tickets (the price had previously doubled). And, even if he got one at the last minute, it is very likely that he will not be able to use the airport, which is already under siege by the Taliban.
The abrupt departure of American troops and the rapid advance of the Taliban is leaving its toll. Just like any barbarian reconquest, like the Huns marching through Europe. The Taliban are executing anyone suspected of having worked with the government of Ashraf Ghani, who left the country a few hours ago.
There have been several beheadings, such as that of Abdulmanan’s son, an Afghan who managed to flee. “They took him… as if he was a sheep and cut off his head with a knife and threw it away,,” Abdulmanan told AFP. Controlling territories, the Taliban demand a list of “all girls over fifteen and widows under 45 to marry a Taliban fighter.”
A few weeks before the bloodbath, Biden lied to the international community and the Afghans: “It is not inevitable that the Taliban will retake Afghanistan. Because you —the Afghan troops have 300,000 well-equipped —as well-equipped as any army in the world— and an air force against something like 75,000 Taliban. It is not inevitable.”
“It is not true that we believe that the Afghan government is going to collapse,” Joe Biden told a press conference on July 2. He insisted: “There is no similarity between what is happening today and what happened in Vietnam. It’s not even remotely comparable. There is not going to be a circumstance where we see people being evacuated from the roof of the U.S. embassy.”
The U.S. Government was wrong, as it was wrong in March 1975 when it claimed that South Vietnam would hold out for many more months. Helicopters are now evacuating the American embassy staff and tens of thousands of Afghans, who helped the United States and who were counting on Washington, could fall victim to Taliban barbarism. The truth is heartbreaking: Afghanistan has lasted as long as Vietnam and, like the Indochina War, it has been a dismal failure for the United States. It took less than a week for a group of barbarians to dissolve a twenty-year effort by the world’s once leading power.
Afghanistan is now Vietnam. Kabul is already Saigon. The carnage in Afghanistan will intensify, and this will be a sad episode in the foreign policy of President Joe Biden, who has abandoned innocent Afghans to their fate, and mainly that of women, whose future is now uncertain.
When America is weakened, its enemies celebrate. As Oriana Fallaci said after the attack on the Twin Towers: “The matter is not solved or finished with the death of Osama bin Landen. Because there are already tens of thousands of Osama bin Ladens and they are not only in Afghanistan”. Well, it was not solved, when Obama bragged about his corpse. Afghanistan was never solved, until today, with the defeat of the United States. Accelerated by Biden and concluded in the worst possible way. The good guys do not deserve this White House.
Orlando Avendaño is the co-editor-in-chief of El American. He is a Venezuelan journalist and has studies in the History of Venezuela. He is the author of the book Days of submission // Orlando Avendaño es el co-editor en Jefe de El American. Es periodista venezolano y cuenta con estudios en Historia de Venezuela. Es autor del libro Días de sumisión.