Operation Frequent Wind

Operation Frequent Wind was a rescue operation in 1975 by American military helicopter for the American and South Vietnamese citizens in Saigon (modern Ho Chi Minh City) as it was attacked by the North Vietnamese army. At the time, the South Vietnamese government collapsed. Images of a Northern tank bursting into the Southern presidential palace and helicopters being pushed into the sea from an offshore American aircraft carrier announced the end of the Vietnam War. As helicopters from the aforementioned operation brought refugees to the carrier, they were subsequently dumped into the sea to make room for more.

Current President Joe Biden was already a senator at that time and opposed the operation, arguing that the U.S. had no responsibility to save Southern citizens. And only a month ago, it was Biden who defiantly rejected comparisons between the situation in Afghanistan and the Vietnam War era. The picture of Taliban fighters occupying the Afghan presidential office in Kabul was shocking. Although there were pictures of helicopters taking diplomats to the airport, it seems that there wasn’t enough time to prepare a large-scale withdrawal operation. That’s how sudden the Taliban seizure of the capital was. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country and recognized the Taliban victory on Facebook. The administration’s sudden collapse spurred people to rush to the airport to flee the country, and chaos spread.

It is a pitiful conclusion to the war in Afghanistan that began 20 years ago with the overthrow of the previous Taliban regime. The Taliban have proclaimed a softer position, including consideration of women’s rights and rejecting international terror, but we hear news that clashes with this. It was a miscalculation for Biden: He had hoped to discard Afghanistan, but instead it became a showcase for the disregard and irresponsibility of American diplomacy.

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