The Taliban have already entered the capital city of Afghanistan, months earlier than expected:
This is the moment US diplomats are seen being evacuated from Kabul just hours before Taliban forces stormed the Afghan capital.
In a stark scene mirroring that of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam war, a US Air Force helicopter was seen taking off from the US Embassy earlier today.
The Chinook helicopter was seen taking to the skies above the city – just like in 1975 when a US Marine helicopter was seen evacuating embassy staff from Vietnamese capital.
Smoke was also seen rising from near to the US embassy earlier today as security staff work to burn any important documents, including CIA information, or material that could be used ‘in propaganda efforts’. The US flag is soon expected to be lowered, signalling the official closure of the embassy.
It comes as the US steps up its evacuation of Kabul with Taliban fighters quickly moving in ‘from all sides’. Shots were heard on the outskirts of the capital earlier today, much earlier than first anticipated, before fighters poured into the city.
US Intelligence officials had expected Kabul to hold out for three months, while UK ministers were hoping they had until the end of the month.
Leaders of the extremist group have today demanded the Afghan government surrender the city to them in a bid to avoid bloodshed – adding the chilling warning ‘we’ve not declared a ceasefire’.
As many as 10,000 US citizens are being evacuated from the city. Around 3,000 US troops are being sent to aid the mission.
Meanwhile, Special Forces units are joining 600 British troops from the 16 Air Assault Brigade, including 150 Paratroopers, to begin airlifting more than 500 British Government employees out of Kabul.
It is believed that by Saturday night that the number of UK officials still in Afghanistan had been reduced to the ‘low tens’ – including ambassador Sir Laurie Bristow.
The UK Government says it aims to get British ambassador Sir Laurie and his remaining embassy staff out by Sunday night – amid fears the Taliban could seize Kabul airport within days.
Russia meanwhile today confirmed it did not intend to evacuate its embassy staff in Kabul.
This is a disaster and a national humiliation, but it is one that was both inevitable and obvious, predicted by me and by many others, for nearly two decades. And Russia has no need to evacuate its embassy staff, for unlike the USA and the United Kingdom, it is not at war with the Taliban and it has not been defeated by them.
The policy of Pax Americana enforced by our troops stationed around the world is not only a failure, it is leading to the corruption of the American military.
War is the health of the state, true, but unlike the tango, it does not require two. However, it has become clear that the neoconservative utopians in the administration do not see this undeclared and unconstitutional war as a reactive strike in self-defense, but more as a means of reshaping the global order. I expect this attempt to work about as well as Woodrow Wilson’s did in 1918.
It is not only the inevitable failure of this vision that concerns me. A military machine is a delicate creature, designed to do one thing very well—destroy the opposition. It is a well-known fact of military history that fighting troops and garrison troops are two very different things, and attempting to turn the former into the latter significantly impedes their ability to perform their primary mission.
History proves that no utopian vision, however sweeping, will ever bring a permanent peace. Let us then abandon visions of a global Pax Americana, bring our soldiers home, and only send them forth when war is necessary and declared. And when the war is won and the enemy is destroyed, bring the troops home again immediately. They deserve no less.
Bring them home from Germany, from South Korea and Italy. Bring them home from Kosovo, from Afghanistan and Kuwait, from Turkey, Spain, Iceland and Belgium. Bring them home from Panama, Portugal and Japan. Most of all, bring them home from Iraq. Now.
Our matchless soldiers have won the war—they cannot win the peace.Bring Them Home, Worldnetdaily, February 23, 2004
UPDATE: Bagram airbase also fell to the Taliban this morning, surrendered by the Afghan troops who were defending it after the US withdrawal.