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Blinken Rejects Kabul-Saigon Comparison As Countries Call For UN Security Council Meeting

By RFE/RL August 15, 2021

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has rejected comparisons between the U.S. departure from Kabul and the chaotic exit after the Vietnam War, as the Taliban surrounded the Afghan capital.

Blinken's comments on August 15 came as Russia said it was working with other countries to hold an emergency UN Security Council meeting on Afghanistan as the Taliban completes its military takeover of the war-torn country.

"This is not Saigon," Blinken told ABC TV. "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."

Estonia and Norway requested the 15-member UN Security Council meet on Afghanistan as soon as possible, diplomats said on August 15.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Ministry official Zamir Kabulov said on August 15 that Moscow was "working" with others to schedule an emergency meeting.

Russia is one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council, along with the United States, Britain, France, and China.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was on August 15 to hold further crisis talks on Afghanistan, his office said, as he recalled Parliament from its summer break.

Johnson vowed on August 13 that Britain will not "turn our backs" on Afghanistan, even as he confirmed the imminent withdrawal of most embassy staff in the face of a rapid Taliban onslaught.

NATO, meanwhile, said it was "helping to maintain operations at Kabul airport to keep Afghanistan connected with the world."

A NATO official said that a political solution to the conflict was "now more urgent than ever."

The comments came as the Taliban entered the outskirts of the Afghan capital, the only major city left in government hands, and vowed not to take it by force, as talks with senior officials were said to be under way on a peaceful transfer of power.

Afghanistan's acting interior minister, Abdul Satar Mirzakwal, said in a video message released on August 15 that there would be a "peaceful" transfer of power to a transitional government.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, and AFP

Source: not-saigon/31411634.html

Copyright (c) 2021. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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