American Afghanistan Retreat Could Risk Vietnam Repeat, Mitch McConnell Warns
America is ‘careening toward a massive, predictable, and preventable disaster’ akin to Vietnam in its retreat from Afghanistan, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has warned.
The military campaign began in the wake of the 9/11. However, US President Joe Biden said the ‘war was never meant to be a multigenerational undertaking’, citing trillions of dollars, thousands of deaths and the US’s support to Afghan forces in ordering all troops out the country by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks.
Meanwhile, nine out of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces have been seized by the Taliban, with thousands of American soldiers working on evacuating embassy staff from Kabul amid advances from the insurgents. Lawmakers have expressed concerns over a replay of the ‘fall of Saigon’, when the People’s Army of Vietnam and Viet Cong took control of the capital, prompting a mass evacuation.
The Taliban has since captured Kandahar, the country’s second biggest city, as well as Lashkar Gah, Herat and Qala-e-Naw. With the loss of Badakhshan and Baghlan, the Afghan central government and security forces are largely fighting insurgents on their own.
‘The latest news of a further drawdown at our embassy and a hasty deployment of military forces seem like preparations for the fall of Kabul. President Biden’s decisions have us hurtling toward an even worse sequel to the humiliating fall of Saigon in 1975,’ McConnell said, The Guardian reports.
While Biden ordered the withdrawal, Donald Trump also pledged to bring US troops home from the war during his time in power.
‘President Biden is finding that the quickest way to end a war is to lose it. Without it, al-Qaeda and the Taliban may celebrate the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks by burning down our embassy in Kabul,’ the minority leader said.
Biden responded to Saigon comparisons in June. ‘There’s going to be no circumstance where you’ll see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy of the United States from Afghanistan,’ he said.
‘I do not see that unfolding. I may be wrong, who knows, you can’t predict the future, but I don’t see Saigon 1975 in Afghanistan. The Taliban just aren’t the North Vietnamese army. It’s not that kind of situation,’ Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, also said.
Biden said he has no regrets over his decision, urging Afghan forces to ‘fight for themselves, fight for their nation’.
More than 1,000 civilians have already been killed as a result of the Taliban’s advances, according to the UN, with atrocities committed against children growing ‘higher by the day’, BBC News reports.
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