I have heard several pundits comparing the current debacle in Kabul to the Fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, when the remaining American diplomatic and military personnel fled Vietnam in the face of North Vietnam conquering South Vietnam. Others cite Benghazi, when U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens was murdered and a secret CIA base was besieged by Islamic militants on September 2012. But I think a more apt comparison is the Battle of Dien Bien Phu.
Dien Bien Phu was the decisive victory of the North Vietnamese over the French Army in May 1954 and marked the end of French colonialism in Southeast Asia. Viet Minh communist revolutionaries surrounded and overran the the French Union‘s colonial Far East Expeditionary Corps. The Viet Minh captured 11,721 prisoners and killed at least 2,200 members of the 20,000-strong French forces. The last time the French suffered this kind of defeat was during the German invasion of France in 1940.
Which brings me to our desperate situation in Kabul. This is a self-inflicted wound. The following is a report from a retired CIA officer still well connected to events on the ground. I have received confirmation from military buddies:
Folks, for those of you trying to help get people out of Afghanistan. Here is assessment based on information coming out of policy circles and from sources on the ground. Biden is hard over that we will have the last military personnel out of Kabul airport NLT 31 August. We may be gone before then. Drawdown could begin within next 72 hours.
This is not conditions based. Biden has already disregarded all sound military advice. We can expect him to continue to do so. Anybody not out by the time the last plane leaves gets cut away.
On the ground in Kabul all processing of Afghans has effectively stopped. Only American Citizens are being moved. People are finally realizing on the ground that this administration really will do things that are unthinkable.
So to translate this into terms we use in teaching how to respond to a terrorist attack. Get off the X.
Also assessment is that Panjshir Valley will likely be overrun. May hold for a while but not indefinitely. Any Afghan who wants out needs to get across a border.
After we are gone the plan is apparently to take down the internet, expel foreign journalists and begin the Afghan version of the killing fields.
Also, people tasked with getting high-value targets, like female judges out, have not been allowed to move them.