Afghanistan: President Biden says there are no parallels with Vietnam
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Joe Biden said only last week that he had no regrets over removing US troops from Afghanistan, despite concerns Taliban insurgents would reclaim power. The capital city of Kabul fell on Sunday, with Afghan president Ashraf Ghani relinquishing power to an interim government fronted by Taliban commander Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. Footage of the US President repeatedly insisting a Taliban takeover was “not inevitable” has since re-emerged – fuelling further anger towards the Biden administration.
The video, from July 8, sees the President asked whether the Taliban seizing control was “inevitable” and only a matter of time.
He responded: “No, it is not.
“Because the Afghan troops have 300,000 well-equipped, as well as food as any army in the world, troops and an Air Force, against something like 75,000 Taliban. It is not inevitable.”
The ongoing evacuation has seen comparisons with the American evacuation of Vietnam in 1975, an issue Mr Biden also addressed last month.
Photos were widely circulated back in 1975 of helicopters evacuating people from the roof of the US Embassy in Saigon – but the President insisted history would not repeat itself.
Former American Secretary of Labour Robert Reich, who served under Bill Clinton, tweeted: “Anyone else notice that Kabul is starting to resemble Saigon in April 1975?”
Quizzed on whether there were any similarities between the two withdrawals, Mr Biden said: “None whatsoever, 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 North Vietnamese army. They’re not remotely comparable in terms of capability.
“There’s going to be no circumstance where you see people lifted off the roof of an Embassy of the United States from Afghanistan.”
But on Sunday, just 38 days after the press conference, photos from Kabul showed US personnel being evacuated from the Embassy’s roof.
Taliban fighters were seen armed and in the streets of the Afghan capital on Sunday.
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US intelligence hoped Kabul would hold for three months, with the President and other officials stunned by the near-complete takeover of the landlocked nation.
The President has prioritised the evacuation of US citizens, authorising 5,000 troops to help with the effort.
Former president Donald Trump has demanded Mr Biden resign in the wake of the Taliban takeover.
He said in a statement: “What Joe Biden has done with Afghanistan is legendary.
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“It will go down as one of the greatest defeats in American history!”
Former Nato secretary general Lord Robertson said the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan happened “far too quickly”, and “that failure of intelligence should worry all of us about the future.”
He told Good Morning Scotland the intelligence failure by the West “allowed President Biden up until the last moment to predict the Taliban would not take over swiftly in Afghanistan”.
He continued: “It didn’t have to be like this.
“If we had learned the lessons of what happened in Bosnia and Kosovo, then a gradual withdrawal based on facts on the ground and success on the ground may have stopped this catastrophe from happening.”
Meanwhile, a former Royal Marine broke down in tears this morning on Good Morning Britain, as he slammed the UK and US for a “masterclass in how to completely ruin a country”.
Paul Farthing, speaking from Kabul, warned of a “humanitarian crisis”.
He stressed: “The scenes at Kabul airport last night were just absolutely terrifying.”
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