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Frag Out! DSEI 2021

Frag Out! Magazine

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D espite tempting comparisons - years-long gueril- la warfare, falling of pro-US regime, army trained and funded by US and Allied forces that failed to stop major offensive of the opponent, resulting in seizing major cities and, ultimately the capital, and of course des- perate airlift - still, Kabul it is not a Saigon. Understanding this can help to understand what happened in Afghani- stan and why. While the popular image of the Vietnam War, thanks to multiple movies, is dominated by counter-insurgency op- erations in the jungle, one of the key players was the air- power. Not only Hueys, Cobras, Chinooks, Skyriders and AFGHANISTAN 2021 Phantoms provided air mobility, medical evacuation and close air support but jet fighters and bombers conducted air campaigns over Ho Chi Minh supply trail and North Vietnam. Despite less than impressive results of the first air offensive, Operation Rolling Thunder, two later oper- ations, Linebacker I and Linebacker II, when B-52s were deployed were instrumental in supporting diplomatic ef- forts. The Paris Peace Accords formally guaranteed the existence of South Vietnam. Local forces were supposed to defend South Vietnam, but there was a possibility that the USA shall again use their airpower to stop the offen- sive. In fact, due to the political crisis in the USA - the Wa- AS IT IS CLEAR AT THE MOMENT OF WRITING THIS ARTICLE, IN AUGUST, THIS CHAPTER OF THE AFGHAN WAR IS OVER. THE OVERRUN RUNWAY OF KABUL INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, CROWDED INTERIOR OF C-17, CARRYING 640 SOULS TO SAFETY, NOT TO MENTION DESPERATE AFGHANS TRYING TO FLY OUTSIDE OF THE PLANE SHALL BE PROBABLY AS ICONIC AS THE PHOTOS OF HUEYS ON ROOFTOPS OF SAIGON IN 1975. BUT IS KABUL THE NEXT SAIGON, AS MULTIPLE PUNDITS ALREADY CALL IT? WHY DID THE TALIBAN WIN AND WHAT CAN HAPPEN NEXT? WE SHALL TRY TO FIND SOME PRELIMINARY ANSWERS. 4

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