The scenes at Kabul airport are reminiscent of the chaos in Saigon in 1975 when pro-American Vietnamese desperately tried to flee before the arrival of communist forces. So how does the US’s campaign in Afghanistan compare with the Vietnam war?
But military historians might beg to differ.
The echoes of the fall of Saigon in May 1975 and the collapse of the pro-US government of Ashraf Ghani in Kabul in August 2021 are obvious.
US troops fired shots into the air on Sunday, 15 August, as thousands of Afghans crowded onto the asphalt at Kabul aiport in the desperate hope of getting on board an airliner which could take them out of Afghanistan and away from the approaching Taliban*.
Footage posted on social media showed Afghans trying to climb up to overcrowded planes as they waited clearance for take-off.
In the end all commercial flights were cancelled.
US troops prioritised evacuating embassy employees and thousands of Afghans who were employed by Washington.
The scenes were almost identical to Operation Frequent Wind, the evacuation from Saigon on 29-30 April 1975 of thousands of pro-US officials and their families as communist forces closed in on the capital of the Washington-backed Republic of Vietnam.
Around 50,000 were airlifted out from the Tan Son Nhut air base and then, in the final hours before the North Vietnamese Army took Saigon, another 7,000 US…