- Last month, Biden said there would not be rooftop evacuations from the US embassy in Afghanistan.
- On Sunday, US helicopters rushed to evacuate diplomats and staff from the embassy in Kabul.
- Biden also said it was unlikely the Taliban would completely overrun the country, which is what happened Sunday.
President Joe Biden gave strong assurances last month that the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan would not play out like the fall of Saigon at the conclusion of the Vietnam War.
Speaking to reporters at the White House on July 8, Biden said the Taliban was “not remotely comparable” to the North Vietnamese Army “in terms of capability.”
“There’s going to be no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of a embassy in the — of the United States from Afghanistan. It is not at all comparable,” Biden said.
But on Sunday, after the Taliban stormed Kabul and the Afghan government fell, a comparable scene unfolded as the US scrambled to evacuate diplomats and staff from the US embassy in the Afghan capital.
—IndSamachar News (@Indsamachar) August 15, 2021
Photos captured the helicopters near the embassy in what some critics called Biden’s “Saigon moment,” Insider’s Ryan Pickrell reported.
The New York Times reported the helicopter was evacuating people from a landing pad next to the building, rather than the roof, though it was the image of a rushed evacuation that the administration had sought to avoid.
—Stefan Simanowitz (@StefSimanowitz) August 15, 2021
Biden had also said in July that it was not yet clear that the withdrawal of US troops would result in the Taliban retaking the country.
“The likelihood there’s going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely,” Biden said.
However, on Sunday the insurgents completed their brutal military push through the country by taking Kabul, setting up the Taliban to retake Afghanistan 20 years after US-led forces drove them from power.