The Americans were preparing to pull their troops out of Afghanistan for months, but the operation still turned out to be a disaster. Footage of young Afghans clinging to Lockheed C-5 Galaxy cargo planes at Kabul Airport went viral all over the world. And although it seems these images have vanished from mainstream discourse, the consequences of those events are yet to come. RT asked experts what President Joe Biden’s first and most important foreign policy decision cost his administration.
Fleeing on camera
The Cold War was full of symbols. One of the most striking of these was footage of US military personnel pushing helicopters off the landing deck of the destroyer USS Kirk in the Mekong Gulf in 1975. The helicopters had been operated by pilots taking part in the US military mission in South Vietnam who were removing diplomatic staff from a besieged Saigon, along with their families. They no longer planned to return to the burning capital, so the expensive aircraft were sunk in the South China Sea.
While the helicopters on the deck of the Kirk were a striking, albeit isolated, case of such an incident being caught on camera, the multi-day flight of thousands of people fearing the Islamist dictatorship of the Taliban, who were rapidly taking control of Kabul, was shown on all social networks. The situation was exacerbated by a terrorist attack in the now almost forgotten style of the aughts.
On August 26, an explosion was heard in an airport terminal building packed with refugees. Approximately 170 civilians and 13 American servicemen were killed. At the same time, the world was innundated by videos of groups of grim men in turbans sitting at tables in the government offices of the presidential palace. Kalashnikov assault rifles from all over the world, as well as American M4s and Swiss SGs, could also be seen in the frame.