Blinken on Afghanistan: ‘This Is Manifestly Not Saigon’ All Over Again

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that while video shows military helicopters facilitating the rapid evacuation of U.S. personnel from the U.S. embassy in Kabul, it was “manifestly not Saigon.”

Guest host Jon Karl said, “An internal document that went out to embassy personnel instructed American personnel at the embassy to reduce the amount of sensitive information on the property. It also said, please include items with embassy logos, American flags, or items which could be misused in propaganda efforts. Clearly, the concern is that the Taliban — this is also I assume why you’re relocating people to the airport — that the Taliban would overwhelm and take over the embassy compound.”

Blinken said, This is standard operating procedure in any such situation. There are plans in place if we’re leaving an embassy compound, relocating our people to another place, to take all these steps. The ones you just listed. This is exactly what we would do in any of these situations. Again, this is being done in a very deliberate way, orderly way. It’s being done with American forces there to do it in a safe way.”

Karl said, “Respectfully, not much about what we’re seeing seems orderly or standard operating procedure. Just last month, President Biden said that under no circumstances — that was his words — under no circumstances would U.S. embassy personnel be airlifted out of Kabul in a replay of the scenes we saw in Saigon in 1975. Isn’t that exactly what we’re seeing now? Even the images are evocative of what happened in Vietnam.”

Blinken, “Let’s take a step back. This is manifestly not Saigon. The fact of the matter is this we went to Afghanistan 20 years ago with one mission in mind. That was to deal with the people that attacked us on 9/11. That mission has been successful. ”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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